The Champagne region and houses are celebrating after sales and exports set new records last year even as pandemic lockdowns forced many bars and restaurants to close.
Comité Champagne, a trade association representing over 16,000 winegrowers and 320 Champagne houses, said this week that France exported a record 180 million bottles of Champagne in 2021, an increase of 38% over 2020.
Global sales of Champagne also hit a record €5.5 billion (US$6.2 billion).
Comité Champagne said that total shipments rose 32% over the previous year to 322 million bottles as people found reasons to celebrate at home.
“With tourism and the staging of events still reduced due to the health crisis, there is room to believe that home consumption has taken up the slack,” the trade group said in a statement.
“Consumers have chosen to entertain themselves at home, compensating for the generally gloomy mood with new moments of conviviality and sharing,” they also added.
Detailed export data has not yet been released, but in 2020, the United Kingdom and the United States were the top foreign markets for champagne.
Champagne drinking popped back up to its pre-pandemic levels last year in France, with shipments increasing 25% to reach nearly 142 million bottles.
‘This recovery is a welcome surprise for the people of Champagne after a troubled 2020 (with figures down by 18%) impacted by the closure of main points of consumption and the shortage of celebratory events across the world,’ comments Maxime Toubart, president of the Syndicat général des vignerons and co-president of the Comité Champagne. He is otherwise pleased to note ‘the healthy state of the national market’.
Jean-Marie Barillère, president of the Union des Maisons de Champagne and co-president of the Comité Champagne, is delighted that ‘thanks to exports and the consumer’s devotion to fine cuvees, Champagne will reach a record turnover of more than 5.5 billion Euros*’. But he stresses ‘the average shipments in 2020-2021, at 280 million bottles and 4.9 billion Euros, remain under the pre-pandemic levels (300 million bottles, 5 billion Euros in 2019)’.
Afflicted by the health crisis in 2020 and challenging climatic conditions in 2021, Champagne now hopes that 2022 will open the way to a new cycle of growth.
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