Last year saw the greatest consumption of Champagne ever, according to the Champagne trade body the CIVC.
Over 300m bottles left the cellar doors of Champagne houses last year, a figure only bettered in 1999 when 327m bottles were sold.
‘But that does not necessarily mean 1999 saw the highest level of consumption,’ says Daniel Lorson, head of the CIVC
He points out that retailers and the on-trade had spectacularly overestimated their needs for the celebrations, leaving huge surplus stocks.
‘We’re currently in the situation where stock levels are normal, so you could say that the world has consumed the 300m bottles and that 2004 is the best year for Champagne consumption ever,’ said Lorson.
Year on year sales for Champagne were up by 2.4% in 2004 with the main markets, the UK, US and Germany, continuing to grow.
According to the FEVS (France’s wine and spirits export federation) the predicament of AOC wines is worrying with an 8.6% drop in volume and an 11.9% drop in value.
The less prestigious Vin de Pays wines, however, did well, showing growth of around 5% in both volume and value last year. As with the strong performance of Champagne, this was not enough to buck the trend.
Written by Oliver Styles, and agencies