Russia has joined the exclusive club of countries that drink over a million bottles of Champagne a year.

Champagne sales went up by more than 5% last year, with an extra 17m bottles sold, and an increase of over 40% in Russian imports.

‘This is the first time Russia has joined the over a million club,’ said Daniel Lorson of the Comité Interprofessionnel du vin de Champagne. ‘There are only about 15 countries that drink over a million bottles a year.’

Total sales were just under 339m bottles, an increase of 5.3% on 2006, the CIVC announced this week.

Fifty five per cent of the total was drunk in France and the rest was exported, with a significant increase in levels sold to Russia, China and India.

Provisional figures for exports by country, for the period 1 December 2006 to 30 November 2007, show 1.03m bottles going to Russia, an increase of 46% on last year.

China drank 634,000 bottles, an increase of 30% and India 282,000 bottles, an increase of 19%.

The CIVC would not reveal the best selling brands in 2007, but sources in the area say they were Moët and Veuve Clicquot, both owned by luxury goods company, Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy, LVMH.

Written by Sophie Kevany