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Prowein: Record Champagne turnover, but UK and France still in decline

Published:  18 March, 2019

Total turnover for Champagne reached a new high of €4.9 billion in 2018, up 0.3% on 2017, although volumes fell by 0.8% to 301.9 million bottles.

However, the two key markets of France and UK, accounting for 60% of total Champagne sales, were down 4% in volume, although showing some signs of higher-priced sales, with value dipping only 2%.

As a counterpoint to the moribund UK and Gallic markets, the USA, mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, plus Japan were among markets showing strong growth, up 2.9%, 9.1% and 5.5% respectively, with countries such as Canada and Mexico also in growth.

Speaking to Harpers at Prowein, Comité Champagne co-president Jean-Marie Barillere confirmed that 2018 had been “an excellent vintage and a generous one”, being a useful platform to continue to grow developing and emerging markets for Champagne.

“This comes after 10 years of growth and we are pretty pleased with the figures from the US, from Japan, from the Chinese triangle, from Germany and a few other markets like Mexico and South Africa – but we are obviously a bit disappointed by the figures from the French and English markets,” said Barillere.

On the importance of those latter markets to Champagne, which account for 50% of total Champagne sales, Barillere added that “together, all of the other markets globally, do not make up for the dip in the UK and France”, saying also that the economic conditions in France and uncertainty over Brexit in the UK were partially responsible for the decline of sales.

Barillere said that Champagne would continue to focus on pushing the premium, adding value to sales of the category, while also outlining the region’s strong commitment to sustainability, which the Comité Champagne sees as essential to upholding the “prestige reputation” of the wines.