Strong Australian market not enough to offset global fall in Champagne

29 January, 2021 by Dan Hughes

Australians have something to celebrate having recovered from COVID-19 lockdowns and so too does Comité Champagne after it recorded its first Australian growth in more than two years. The Australian market finished 2020 with a notable increase of 14 per cent growth.

This was a much-needed sign for Comité Champagne who has seen shipments to Australia fall consecutively in the previous two years. This year’s growth bodes well for the future, with 2020’s Champagne harvest recording is the earliest on record and Comité Champagne describing this year’s vintage as “outstanding” for grape quality.

Advertisement

Despite an Australian market on the rebound, Comité Champagne has recorded an 18 per cent global drop in bottle shipments, totaling 245 million in 2020. The year 2020 was a particularly testing time for the Champagne sector, right across the world. The closure of main centres for consumption and sales, along with the cancellation of many events, put Champagne under pressure and called for rapid adaptability, in a climate of considerable uncertainty, to ward off the consequences of the health and economic crisis.

The Comité Champagne met earlier this week to put in place measures to ensure 2021 is approached with confidence. It confirmed last July’s decision to adjust grape harvest volumes for the year 2020 so the efforts will be distributed between growers and houses. Considering the final 2020 sales, it was also decided to augment the available harvest (8,000 kg/ha) by drawing 400 kilos per hectare from the interprofessional grape reserve.

“Faced with an unprecedented crisis, the organisation of our sector has proved its resilience. Together, the Champagne winegrowers and houses took last year wise decisions about yields. The adjustment that the Comité Champagne has agreed on today will give everyone a certain room for manoeuvre,” co-president of the Comité Champagne and president of the Syndicat Général des Vignerons, Maxime Toubart said.

“Despite the crisis, Champagne remains dear to the hearts of consumers who feel the need to keep something exceptional in their everyday lives, to choose quality products when so many other pleasures are unavailable due to the health crisis,” co-president of the Comité Champagne and president of the Union des Maisons de Champagne, Jean-Marie Barillère added. “It is the strength and power of our appellation to be the champion of prestige and above all quality among our consumers.”