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Champagne approaches the festive season with a shortage of wire caps, labels and foil caps

Par Vitisphere Le 27 octobre 2021
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Champagne approaches the festive season with a shortage of wire caps, labels and foil caps
“It's annoying to see demand in the marketplace being fuelled and not being able to meet it all? claims Maxime Toubart. - crédit photo : Sparflex (le muselet Valentin)

t’s now become a fact of life in Champagne – everyone knew that trade would resume after all the gloom caused by the pandemic, but no one had imagined that business would pick up quite so quickly and dramatically. Champagne firms are now coping with a huge influx of orders for the festive season, and are being overwhelmed by demand, but at the same time limited by their suppliers due to lack of inventory. Consequently, “we are short of everything: wire caps, neck labels, boxes, foil caps...” comments Maxime Toubart, chairman of the Champagne producers’ organisation (SGV), who also highlights the fact that the price increases caused by the surging cost of raw materials come with considerable pressure on lead times.

Winegrowers had no stocks left because they were afraid of what the future might hold, so then they all stocked up at the same time”, sums up Julien Lévêque, manager of the label printing company Imprim'éclair based in Épernay which has 800 clients. Christophe Mendez, managing director of the Sparflex group, the international leader in capsules which is based in Champagne and Hendaye, notes that demand has sky-rocketed since June-July. “In two months, we have been overwhelmed by incoming orders, which represent the equivalent of five months of normal orders. With a surge this great, even with highly efficient equipment, you cannot absorb it”.

Champagne wine merchants, however, have a different take on the issue. “I don't see that sales are being penalised” is Paul-Louis Vranken’s reassuring comment. The CEO of Vranken-Pommery Monopole confirms that “international orders are falling, demand is reaching an end. What has not been shipped now will not be drunk at the end of this year, in Australia, Asia and the West Coast of the United States...” His viewpoint is confirmed by Toubart: “This will only have a marginal impact on sales in 2021. We are aiming for sales in excess of 300 million bottles, more than in 2019. Export markets have been dealt with, this is about the French market”.


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Tous les commentaires (1)
Dan Karlsen Le 02 novembre 2021 à 19:05:14
The cork, wirehood and capsule are a waste of resources and a hassle to open. The champagne cork is a significant cause of eye injury and suffers from a high incidence of cork taint. The best solution is to put a crown cap on the bottle after disgorging. Its only draw back is it doesn't pop. Perhaps we could train sommeliers how to make a popping noise.
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