Champagne shipments could drop by more than 60 million bottles this year, if shipments continue falling at the current rate.
Shipments were down almost 20% in the first six months of the year, according to Champagne trade body the CIVC and, if this decline continues, the annual figure could be as low as 260m bottles. Volumes have not been this low since the post-millennium hangover in 2001.
Ghislain de Montgolfier, president of the Union des Maisons de Champagne (UMC), told decanter.com, ‘We are confident we will sell about 265m bottles this year.’
Domestic sales have remained relatively stable in comparison to exports, driven by aggressive discounting in French supermarkets. Prices have fallen as low as €8.30 a bottle, according to French newspapers.
Pascal Prudhomme, general manager of the Reims-based co-operative CRVC, said, ‘The French market has become much more difficult. Some houses that usually export their Champagne have a lot of unsold stock, so they have cut their prices in France to try and compensate for poor exports.’
European shipments fell 31.6% from January to June but dropped a massive 43.1% to non-European markets including the USA and Japan.
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Written by Giles Fallowfield