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Christmas and Brexit prompt Champagne stockpile in the UK

Fizz shortage fear sees UK importers stock up on enough Champagne to meet demand for a year, according to reports.

British consumers will have enough Champagne to see them through Christmas – and beyond – as Champagne houses have been stockpiling bubbly in the UK ahead of the potential disruption of a no-deal Brexit on 31st October.

Ahead of the festive season the Champagne trade body CIVC has confirmed that French producers have been working with their UK importers to ensure that supply is not affected in the short term by the political uncertainly of Brexit.

‘Growers and houses have overstocked in Great Britain to fill a possible border closure if it were to occur,’ says CIVC spokesman Thibaut Le Mailloux told Reuters.

The UK is Champagne’s largest export market with a 17% share, and in 2018 26.8 million bottles were imported to the UK. It’s believed that more than a year’s worth of stock has already been exported to the UK.

Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger, the president of Champagne house Taittinger, is confident that whatever happens with Brexit the UK’s love affair with Champagne will not be diminished.

‘The English have loved Champagne for 300 years and, Brexit or no Brexit, they will continue to like it,’ he said.

‘Champagne is a very traditional product, a very traditional drink, which the British adore. They contributed a great deal to the sense of romance and the glory of Champagne and, knowing the British character as I do, none of that will change. Honestly I can’t say that I am very anxious about it.

‘If there’s to be a Brexit, well I’d like to drink a glass of Champagne with Boris Johnson to look to the future together,’ he adds.

Taittinger is one of a handful of Champagne producers to invest in UK vineyards in recent years buying land in Kent in 2015. It is expected to release its first English sparkling wine in 2023.

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) recently warned that new UK Government paperwork to be introduced in the event of a no-deal Brexit will cost UK wine businesses £70 million, adding 10p to a bottle of wine.

See also: Taittinger chief says English ‘invented’ Champagne by mistake

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