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Question of the day: champagne sales are exploding

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THE world is still in the midst of a pandemic, but it seems that many of us are still adopting a half-full – if not almost overflowing – glass attitude because despite the gloomy forecasts, champagne sales are exploding.

Truly?

Fizz sales on track for record year as stores and restaurants buy bottles after closings and replenish stocks after ongoing restrictions hit hospitality and retailing around the world .

How good are these sales?

Jean-Marie Barillere, co-president of the association of the Champagne sector CIVC – Le Comité Interprofessionnel du vin de Champagne – who is also president of the UMP Champagne brand group, said this weekend that the sector was heading towards sales of 315 million bottles this year, marking a turnover of 4.7 billion pounds sterling (5.5 billion euros).

If confirmed at the end of the year?

It will beat the current record for annual sales of 5 billion euros, reached in pre-pandemic 2019, before Covid hits.

Snags?

One glass-darkening issue is uncertainty over the new strain of coronavirus, Omicron, and its potential to influence lockdown restrictions if it turns out to be more virulent than previous variants.

And are we talking specifically about champagne?

Yes, not just any old bubble glass, but the real deal. Champagne, of course, is the sparkling wine produced in the Champagne wine region of France, known for its still wines dating back several centuries to Roman times; associating with royalty – and luxury – from the 17th century when the main producers strove to associate their offerings with nobility and royalty.

And the bubbles?

My darling, the French prefer the term effervescence to qualify the bubbles of Champagne which, according to them, “express the good connotations of movement and liveliness, intensity and joy”, according to the CIVC.

Is the prospect happy?

The organization of the industry is uncertain. Barillere said: “Two weeks ago I would have told you that the outlook for the holiday season was great, but the new variant dampened our optimism.” He added that there was now a danger of a “terrible halt” to plans for year-end festivities, which could mean fewer caps will be skipped on December 31.

Nevertheless?

This year has already been marked by closures across the world, as well as severe spring frosts followed by summer rains that hit French vineyards hard, with some predicting crop losses of up to a third for 2021. And yet, the sales are on the rise.

What is the reason?

Champagne has to age over a year and producers tend to store millions of bottles in their cellars to ensure a continuous supply, so there is no shortage of sparkling wines. Barillere said strong exports – especially to English-speaking countries – boosted sales.

So while we were at home…?

It seems a lot of us have been looking for a bit of luxury. Barillere told Agence France-Presse: “The pandemic has created new consumption habits; everything related to home entertainment is in high demand, including champagne. ”


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