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Champagne prices to rise by as much as 10% next year

A rise in the cost of Champagne grapes will lead to price hikes for all Champagnes in the UK next year.

A 5% plus rise in the cost of grapes from the 2007 Champagne harvest will mean higher prices across the board, from supermarket own label wines to international brands.

Major Champagne houses are quickly looking to recoup this increase in their production costs without damaging their margins.

decanter.com understands Moët & Chandon has told the trade that prices are going up by 7% on average early in 2008.

The price increases are a result of major players like LVMH, which controls Moët & Chandon and Veuve Clicquot, the two largest brands, and Pernod Ricard, owner of Mumm and Perrier-Jouët, aggressively buying up the grapes they need to fuel the growth of their brands.

The major negociants seem to have abandoned their policy of restraint in buying grapes. This has left them short and they have often had to pay an inflated price for vins clairs (still wine) later.

‘There has been a big change in policy in 2007 compared with 2006,’ Jean-Marie Barillère, director of resources at Moët Hennessy said. ‘It is true: we have been much more proactive in looking for grapes than before.’

Prices have gone up as a direct result, concedes Barillère. ‘The average increase is 5.5% for both white and black grapes.’

The big brands’ UK offices concur. Bollinger’s agents Mentzendorff predict increases of at least 7% on all major brands, and at Pol Roger, ‘prices will rise in January by between 5% and 8%,’ says Nick James, who takes over as managing director at the start of 2008.

At Pommery and Heidsieck Monopole price rises will ‘range between 5.5% and 10%,’ a spokesman said.

Written by Giles Fallowfield

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