Sales of Champagne plummet by 25%

Thursday December 24 2020 by Vitisphere

 “We need to capture the imagination more and the legend surrounding our appellation. We realised in 2020 that digital technology can also allow us to convey emotion”, says Jean-Marie Barillère. “We need to capture the imagination more and the legend surrounding our appellation. We realised in 2020 that digital technology can also allow us to convey emotion”, says Jean-Marie Barillère. - Photo credit : Archives

This is a very bad year, we've never experienced such a sharp drop in sales”, comments Jean-Marie Barillère, chairman of the Champagne House organisation. Barillère estimates that sales in 2020 will range between 225 and 235 million bottles, a drop of around 25 % on 2019. “We'll take stock of the situation in January 2021, but we're heading towards payments for 8,000 kg/ha in four instalments”.

Sales in France have fallen more than exports. In November, purchases fell by 30% in France versus 10% abroad. “The second lockdown led to a huge drop in sales in France”, explains Barillère. “With December 31 absolutely wrecked, we can fear the worst for December sales”. Maxime Toubart, chairman of the Champagne winegrowers’ organisation, is nevertheless delighted that Champagne’s model of inter-branch negotiations has withstood this “stress-test”.

We are at a technical crossroads”, says Toubart. “This is the time to think about pushing forward our vineyard management techniques, including the use of semi-wide vine plantings and continuing to reduce our carbon footprint. No topic must be considered taboo!” Negociants are singing from the same hymn sheet, claiming that environmental commitments should be ramped up because of the crisis. “We no longer have a choice”, confirms Barillère. “We have to reduce all our inputs. We are also vulnerable to climate change. When will Champagne become carbon-neutral?”

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