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Champagne increases yields by 20% to cope with demand

The Champenois have upped the permitted yield of grapes for the upcoming harvest to cope with growing demand for Champagne.

The harvest limit has been set at 12,500 kilogrammes per hectare (kg/ha) by the region’s trade body, the Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne (CIVC), compared to 10,500 kg/ha in 2010 and 9,700kg/ha in 2009.

Thibaut le Mailloux, communications director for the CIVC, told Decanter.com the increased yield was based on ‘reasonably optimistic’ forecasts that Champagne sales would grow by 2% annually over the coming three years.

‘Most of the Champagne houses have communicated to the press that they wanted 14,000kg/ha but the growers wanted a lot less as they have been harder hit by the crisis,’ said le Mailloux.

Champagne shipments reached 319.5 million bottles in 2010, representing a 9% increase in sales. However, growers that rely more heavily on the domestic market than the major houses, have struggled, witnessing a 3% fall in sales in the past year.

Of the permitted 12,500 kg/ha, 2000kg will be released from the existing wine reserves while 3100kg of fruit will be picked to put into the reserve. This means 13,600kg/ha will be harvested in total.

Written by Rebecca Gibb

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