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Not fun in Champagne

>> Monday, March 08, 2010

As expected 2009 was a difficult year for Champagne – the wine district that otherwise over recent time has suffered very little (none, to be precise) of the hardship that most wine regions have seen. Sales were down with “only” 9%. Some earlier predictions pointed in the direction of -25% or more but that was avoided. In total 293 million bottles shipped. The French market remained stable compared to 2008 and since it represents more than 60% of total sales it certainly dampened the down turn. Where the Champenois lost most ground in Europe was in the UK, Italy and in Spain. The total for Europe fell with 17%. For the “rest of the world” the fall was 25%. These numbers are in volume. If counted in value the fall was more: -17% world-wide, since prices have been falling and the expensive luxury cuvees have been difficult to sell (perhaps an opportunity to by the Clos d’Ambonnay on the cheap – ”hey, buddy, only $2000 for a bottle”?). All this will have effect of course: reports that e.g. Piper-Heidsieck is letting go of a quarter of its employees (they’ve lost 42% of the revenues). CIVC, the producer organisation, is less gloomy: they think 2010 might be better since their estimates are that global consumption was much higher than shipments from Champagne. In other words, stocks down the distribution chain are being depleted. Well, we’ll have to see in a year’s time.


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