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Champagne agrees increase in yield on 2009

Champagne growers and houses this week agreed on a 2010 harvest yield of 10,500 kilos per hectare - an increase on last year.

This is up by 700 kgs/ha on 2009, following a recovery in sales this year at home and abroad.

Ghislain de Montgolfier, president of the Union des Maisons de Champagne (UMC) said, ‘We are giving a sign of serenity to illustrate to everyone that the 2009 crisis is truly behind us.’

‘Our only problem is in estimating year-end sales,’ he told French daily Le Figaro.

‘Everything will depend on broad levels of consumption, especially in Europe. In the case of a negative situation, we are in danger of suffering.’

Champagne sales fell last year in comparison to 2008 by 9% in volume and 16.6% in value. First quarter export sales this year were up year-on-year by 25% in the EU, and 57% elsewhere.

The Champagne Wines committee (CIVC) now predicts sales in 2010 of 315m bottles, up by 20m on 2009.

Production in 2010 will be 301m bottles, compared to 278m in 2009.

The optimism of the UMC was not shared by all.

‘We can’t talk yet about an end to the crisis,’ Dominique Pierre, general director of the Nicolas Feuillate cooperative warned.

‘With economic austerity programmes introduced in Western Europe, we have to be realistic.’

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Written by Graham Tearse in Paris

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