Champagne exports overtake domestic consumption in 2018

Estimated figures for total shipments during 2018 show that more Champagne was consumed in foreign markets than France for the first time in over 50 years.

The two presidents of the Comité Champagne, Maxime Toubart and Jean-Marie Barillère announced last week that declining shipments in mature European markets – especially France – and growth in countries such as Australia, US and Japan, had affected the balance of global Champagne consumption.

Most notably, it had tipped the scales in favour of exports, with, from this year, more Champagne shipped to countries outside the domestic market than were sent to the trade in France.

Because, according to Barillère, France had consumed more Champagne than the rest of the world combined since the middle of the last century, this recent development was a major milestone.

“Exports have overtaken France for the first time,” he said, before adding, “Well, since the early part of last century – when Champagne was mostly exported, and not consumed very widely in France,” he stated.

“It was in the 1920s that the French market for Champagne developed, and grew and grew, and from the start of the 60s France became the largest market in the world for Champagne,” he continued.

This prompted Toubart to add, “So, it is the first time in the modern history of Champagne that exports have been bigger than France.”

Domestic sales for Champagne have also been on an almost steady decline since a peak in 2007, when France consumed as much as 188m bottles of the fizz, compared to 150m by the rest of the world. Driving the growth in exports for Champagne have been markets outside Europe, in particular, the US, Japan and Australia, although increasing sales in a range of smaller emerging markets have also contributed.

Indeed, it is an evolution that proves the increasingly global nature of Champagne consumption, making, as reported last year, Champagne sales “more balanced” than ever before, with 30 markets now consuming over 0.5m bottles annually.

Looking ahead, Barillère expects the spread of Champagne consumption to become even more evenly split between the major areas of the world.

“We saw last year that exports of Champagne to Europe were overtaken by those to ‘the rest of the world’, and now we see that total exports are now bigger than the French market,” he began.

“If this trend continues, then in 10-20 year’s Champagne will be one-third France, one-third Europe, and one-third the rest of the world, or it could be higher], depending on where there is wealth development,” he added.

Toubart said that markets outside Europe were growing because the houses had redirected their marketing investments from France to US and Asian markets.

“The French market is decreasing, and so Champagne houses have invested a lot of money in new countries,” he commented.

Barillère explained, “The maisons have focused their marketing activities on countries where there is growth in GDP, and population development, and where the level of wine consumption is growing – it’s why, for example, we have invested in the US.”

The French market for Champagne has been declining for two main reasons.

Firstly, the sales of grower Champagnes direct to consumers in France has diminished, and secondly, the number of promotions on entry-level Champagnes in French supermarkets have fallen, in line with a reputed fatigue among domestic consumers for the retail technique.

While Champagne is seeing shipments decline for inexpensive Champagne in mature markets, the premium branded sector is doing well, both in Europe, but, as noted above, particularly in the US, Japan and Australia.

As a result, Barillère said that turnover for Champagne in 2018 was “stable”, and may even have increased to a level slightly above last year, which was a new record for Champagne.

In other words, the region may have lost more than 5m bottles in shipments for 2018, but the past year could represent the largest ever turnover for Champagne, with the higher revenue accounted for by sales of more branded bottles, and an increased demand for pricier cuvées, especially from consumers in countries outside Europe.

Source: Drinks Business

Canadian Rapper Drake launches Champagne range called “Mod Sélection”

Canadian rapper Drake has expanded his drinks empire, once again teaming up with American drinks entrepreneur Brent Hocking to launch a Champagne range called Mod Sélection.

Described as “the purest expression of balance and terroir produced in champagne today,” the House of Mod Sélection dates back to 1892 and has produced Champagne for over five generations in the Vallée de la Marne.

According to Mod Sélection: “The house practices minimal interventional throughout harvest, press, and production, ensuring the purest display of balance and terroir in every cuvée. Only grapes demonstrating optimal levels of sugar, acidity, and maturity are selected for press.

“The most delicate extraction and juice selection, meticulous settling, natural clarification, and rigorous control of fermentations are carried out with exacting precision to preserve the balance, purity and finesse unique to Mod Sélection house style and production.”

In the bottles in Mod Sélection range include Mod Réserve Champagne (US$300) and a Mod Rosé Champagne (US$400) that are available to pre-order now in 750ml bottles, with magnums and jeroboams in the works. The metallic brown bottle is adorned with handcrafted delicate flowers, and each individual bottle is unique in its design details.

In a promotional video to announce the launch, Drake said: “The product is great, the presentation is great, and hopefully the representation is great as well. We’ll enjoy this run. It should be a long one and a strong one. I think the full package is there.”

Drake and Hocking first worked together back in 2016 when they launched Virginia Black Whiskey. Last year, they offered an IPO for the whiskey, hoping to raise $30 million to fund domestic and international expansion, sales and marketing, and working capital.

Website:

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#BLESSTHISHOUSE
@MODSELECTIONCHAMPAGNE

Source: Drinks Business

Wine Review: Champagne Gosset Grand Reserve Brut NV

The “Grande Reserve” is a mix of three vintages, with a blend of the three standard grape varieties: Chardonnay 45%, Pinot Noir 45%, and Pinot Meunier.

Vineyard Sources: Aÿ, Bouzy, Ambonnay, Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, Villers-Marmery

The wine does not go through a malolactic fermentation, which is typical of the house style.

Tasting Notes

This cuvée sums up the Gosset style in its decisive texture and crisp with firm acidity; it shows enticing maturity; it’s well-balance and expressive; great fruitiness and mineral tension.
This is a Champagne to drink now.

92/100

Champagne Review: Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Rosé Constellation

Laurent-Perrier has crafted one of the most visually imaginative metal jackets for the holiday season. Recently launched, this limited edition is a reflection of the attention to detail that goes into producing this cuvée rosé.

The Constellation offers an alluring raspberry color, powerful and quite intense with red fruit notes; very fresh and structured; robust with a lovely savory dimension; fine bubbles. Impressive!

Undeniably, this cuvée rosé will appeal to Champagne enthusiasts, with a sublime touch to serving this holiday season.

93/100 Points

Champagne’s Trade Shares Continue to Rise

Champagne’s trade share has risen from 1% to 8% by value in the past eight years,

Champagne’s trade share has risen from 1% to 8% by value in the past eight years, with the number of unique Champagnes trading having multiplied in the same time frame, according to a recent report.

Between 2008 and 2014, the champagne region’s overall trade share hovered between 1-3% by value. So far in 2018, it has contributed 8% of market activity, up from 6.2% last year, according to Lev-ex latest “Champagne Report.”

The number of unique labels trading has risen from fewer than 20 different Champagne labels traded on the market in 2008 to stand at 140 so far this year, with the market thus having grown in both depth and breadth, stated the report.

The report further indicates that Champagne, which has long been an on-trade favourite, had in recent years also established itself as a key player in the secondary market for fine wine.

“Champagne is a unique product among its fine wine peers. Its distribution network is unparalleled, the environments that it exists in are diverse – restaurants, nightclubs, royal weddings – and brand recognition is stronger than in any other part of the market.’

“Mentions of Dom Perignon will likely spark far more excitement than the top names of Burgundy and Bordeaux among non-wine experts. Champagne, therefore, touches drinkers not typically engaged with fine wine, and on a global scale.”

In addition, the report said the Champagne 50 Index had steadily risen almost every year for the past decade, with no sharp upward or downward movements, having only dipped in one year out of the past ten.

“Champagne has occupied its own niche in the fine wine market, undisturbed by some of the major events that unsettled Bordeaux, and not afforded the level of recent attention that has seen prices of Burgundy spike.”

Non-vintage Champagne accounts for the majority of the region’s production, but the vintage category dominates the secondary market.

“The fungibility and, hence, seemingly endless supply of non-vintage Champagne makes it an unwise investment choice, as supply will never diminish in the same way as for vintage wines. It is for this reason that vintage Champagne accounts for 95% of the region’s secondary market activity.”

In terms of price, all of the Champagne 50 sub-indices have increased over the past 10 years.

Salon, which has declared the fewest vintages, has considerably outperformed the broader index, with a gain of 163%, according to the report, with Philipponnat, Krug and Dom Pérignon having tracked, yet slightly underperformed the Champagne 50, gaining 63%, 60% and 61% respectively.

The Cristal index has risen by 40% in the last decade, with movement predominantly occurring in the past two years.

When it comes to Champagne vintages, age stands out as the most important price determinant. Prices tend to plateau for the first few years after release, then gradually appreciate.

Unlike Bordeaux, critic scores did not appear to impact the price significantly, except in examples of extreme quality. Bottle formats and the colour of the wine (white/rosé) also contributed to its price performance over time, stated the report.

The report also revealed that there was “no hard and fast rule” about how Champagnes in different bottle sizes perform in the secondary market.

At release, larger formats often commanded a 10-20% premium on standard bottles for the equivalent volume of wine. Currently, magnums from the Champagne 50 traded at an average of 50% above their 75cl siblings, rising to just over 100% for jeroboams, it said.

However, market conditions and consumer taste could lead to a “dramatic shift” in the relative value of big bottles.

“For instance, the premium for jeroboams has drifted significantly in the last ten years. In 2007, jeroboams of Cristal 1999 traded at a premium of 330%, falling to 148% in 2017.”

It was possible to reach two conclusions from this – first, ostentatious displays of wealth had moved on since the financial crisis; second, and “most importantly”, purchasing bigger bottles for investment purposes carried more of downside risk, it said.