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Worldwide fall in Champagne shipments

Published:  27 February, 2009

Worldwide Champagne shipments fell by 4.8% in 2008 and 16.3m bottles to 322,453,852 bottles, according to the Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne (CIVC).

But this wasn't as bad as the 8-10% fall predicted after large drops in shipments in October and November post credit crunch. "Thanks to a better than expected December when sales were up 3%, shipments in 2008 are better than they were in 2006, this is the third best year ever for Champagne [after 2007 and 1999]," said co-president of the CIVC Ghislain de Montgolfier.

The major houses saw their overall sales slip by 6.7%, while the co-ops were down 5.7%. The growers helped by 1.1% growth in the domestic market (mainly 'cellar door' sales) saw shipments rise by 1%. "Our campaign for growers' Champagnes has borne fruit," said Patrick le Brun, president du Syndicat General des Vignerons, the main growers' union.

Overall shipments to the French home market were down by 3.6% to 181,209,546 bottles while those to other European countries fell 6.5% to 85,492,332. Shipments outside Europe fell back by a similar 6.2% to 55,751,974 bottles.

The most significant fall here came in the USA where shipments fell by nearly 20% from the 21.72m bottles exported in 2007 (which was in turn 6.21% down on 2006).

On the plus side, sales in China and South Korea jumped by 50%, the former nearly reaching the 1m-bottle mark (656,208 in 2007). There were significant rises also in Austria (up 23% on the 1,066,611 shipped in 2007), Brazil (+ 17% on the 600,714 shipped in 2007), Russia (+16% on the 1,033,477 shipped in 2007), Poland (up 13%) and Australia (+12% on 3.31m in 2007).

In the UK market where off -trade sales fell by 11% in volume and 6% in value ( Nielsen to 27/12/2008) the latest available shipment figure to the end of October shows a 12.28% drop to 26.12m bottles.