Champenois: we'll be back

27 March, 2009

Champagne's 6% value and 11% volume drop in the UK off-trade is a temporary set-back for the category, which will bounce back in 2012.

Th at was the optimistic message from Champagne's regional trade body the CIVC.

Speaking at its annual tasting in London last week, Andrew Hawes, chairman of the UK Champagne Agents' Association, said: "The recovery of the Champagne market will be closely related to the economic cycle. It's possible we will see a steep drop for a short period and then a quick recovery.

"We've had 15 years of stable growth in consumer sales, so the decline is not surprising given the economic situation. We have to be very careful we don't overreact and damage the long-term perception of Champagne."

The crisis will be over by 2012, according to CIVC co-president Ghislain de Montgolfier.

Despite global Champagne sales falling by 4.8% last year, Montgolfier said he was "confident" that sales would recover.

He added that Champagne shipments are holding up much better than they

were during the last recession in 1992, when they fell by 34%.

Last year Champagne producers shipped 36 million bottles of champagne to the UK - a 7.8% fall on 2007.

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Richard Hemming MW: beware inverse snobbery

Few things can bring communal pleasure so intimately as wine. Apart from a hot tub, perhaps. Sport can trigger mass jubilation, film gives us shared empathy, but wine has a nigh-unique ability to bestow conviviality among us through a shared bottle ľ which makes it especially galling that we spend so much time divided over it.

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