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Prestige Champagne tipped for growth

Published:  14 March, 2012

The popularity of Prestige Cuvée Champagne is on the up and could lead to a resurgence in Vintage and Blanc de Blanc styles, according to the UK Champagne Agents' Association.

Speaking at this morning's CIVC annual update, Andrew Hawes said the UK market has seen "enormous" growth in sales of Prestige styles, which is "likely to flow down to Vintage and Blanc de Blanc Champagnes".

He added that Prestige Cuvées have a 2% volume share of the UK market and "just under 7% of the value".

Non Vintage Champagnes "continue to account for the lion's share of the UK market", he said, with 86.4% volume and 74.7% value share.

According to Hawes, NV Champagne has "historically been a huge success of the 21st century". But despite the domination of NV styles, new trends are emerging in the UK market, including a growing consumer interest in Rosé Champagne.

Pink sparklers have undergone "an extremely strong resurgence," Hawes said, with Rosé Champagne becoming "a significant part of the UK market [which has] not been affected by the recession".

In total, Champagne shipments hit 323 million bottles in 2011 - up from 319.5 million in 2010. The number one export market in 2011 was the UK, with 34.5 million 75cl bottles shipped to our shores, followed by 19.4 million bottles to the US.

In the UK total volume shipments dropped 2.7% compared to the previous year. Hawes said the "slight fall" was not a cause of concern for the Champenois, adding that there was a "long and strong relationship between the UK and Champagne ".

There are currently 304 players providing Champagne to the UK market, with growers offering 48% of what's available, houses 46% and co-operatives 6%.