Champagne harvest reflects declining sales in UK

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Champagne, Chardonnay

Champagne sales have declined to such an extent in the all-important UK market that French industry heads have chosen to limit production in order to...

Champagne sales have declined to such an extent in the all-important UK market that French industry heads have chosen to limit production in order to hold their prices.

Last week, the annual meeting took place in the Champagne region to determine the volume of grapes that growers would harvest this year. Usually set at between 10,000 and 14,000 kilos per hectare, this year the champagne industry opted for 9,700 kilos per hectare.

The decision has been motivated largely by falling sales in the UK, the number one export market for champagne.

These grapes will actually produce wine hitting the market in two to three years, but nevertheless the decision reflects trends in the market right now.

The on-trade sold 16 per cent less champagne in the last 12 months than it did in the previous year, according to Nielsen.

Over the weekend, The Guardian​ newspaper reported that supermarkets will be selling cut-price champagne in the run-up to Christmas because of a glut of the sparkling wine.

And falling champagne consumption was one of the reasons given by Majestic, Britain's largest wine warehouse, for a 56 per cent fall in profits announced recently.

"What is happening is that a deal has been struck to manage what is happening globally," said Françoise Peretti, director of The Champagne Information Bureau, which represents the champagne industry in the UK.

"Sales are going to be lower in 2009 and 2010 than in previous years, so yield has been lowered to match demand."

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