Global Champagne shipments fell 8.2% in 2023, versus 2022, to 299 miliion bottles, according to new data released by the Comité Champagne.
It said orders have returned to a ‘steady pace’ and to pre-Covid levels, following a rollercoaster three years that saw shipments slide during lockdowns in 2020 before rebounding strongly in 2021 and 2022.
The total value of Champagne shipments remained above €6bn (£5.15bn) in 2023, largely thanks to consumer thirst for higher-end cuvées in export markets.
David Chatillon, president of the Union des Maisons de Champagne and co-president of the Comité Champagne, said, ‘The decline was to be expected – but with the value maintained, Champagne is still optimistic for the future, whilst remaining sensitive to the geopolitical context and the state of the global economy.’
Champagne shipments 2023: Exports vs France
Although both France and export markets saw similar rates of decline in volume terms last year, the Comité Champagne said French household budgets had been hit particularly hard by inflation.
Some data released prior to Christmas suggested more French wine drinkers turned to alternative sparkling wines in 2023, from domestic Crémant styles to Italian Prosecco, according to France-based media outlet BFMTV.
Champagne shipments within France still reached 127 million bottles in 2023, showed the new Comité figures.
Yet, exports have continued a long-term trend of accounting for a higher proportion of overall sales. Exports constituted 57% of shipment volumes in 2023, at 172 million bottles, versus 45% 10 years ago.
In last year’s full report on shipment data, the Comité noted that France was still the biggest individual market for Champagne.
Maxime Toubart, president of the Syndicat Général des Vignerons and co-president of the Comité Champagne, welcomed a return to market stability in the 2023 shipment figures.
‘Champagne is a protected appellation produced within a delimited area and governed by strict rules that make it impossible to sustain strong growth in volume over the long-term,’ he said.