Society. Despite the crisis, the French continue to drink champagne (in moderation)

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Restaurants and bars closed, weddings canceled or postponed, birthdays and parties celebrated in very small groups ... Despite everything, the health and economic crisis did not prevent the French from drinking champagne (in moderation) in 2020.

Less of course, as the sector in France saw a 20{7d3485657e94c2a51293ca186d4450b2f27c317aa7ee3509dac6c8bbf5461118} drop in sales to 114 million bottles, while the French market was already in decline before the pandemic, according to the Union of Champagne Houses announced last week.

The importance of the party

But the French have not lost their sense of celebration. 'Champagne has stayed in the hearts of consumers who had to bring a little bit out of the ordinary into their daily life and choose quality products when many other pleasures were impossible due to the health crisis,' believes Jean-Marie Barillère, at the forefront of Inter-Beruf and des Champagne committee that attributes this -20{7d3485657e94c2a51293ca186d4450b2f27c317aa7ee3509dac6c8bbf5461118} to the suspension of international tourism between empty hotels and desserts duty free.

The break is also limited to exports, where the decline was limited to -16{7d3485657e94c2a51293ca186d4450b2f27c317aa7ee3509dac6c8bbf5461118} to 131 million bottles, versus -30{7d3485657e94c2a51293ca186d4450b2f27c317aa7ee3509dac6c8bbf5461118} feared in the first half of 2020 due to year-end deliveries.

The Australian surprise

While the decline in bubbles was particularly significant in the US (-20{7d3485657e94c2a51293ca186d4450b2f27c317aa7ee3509dac6c8bbf5461118}), the United Kingdom (-20{7d3485657e94c2a51293ca186d4450b2f27c317aa7ee3509dac6c8bbf5461118}) and Japan (-28{7d3485657e94c2a51293ca186d4450b2f27c317aa7ee3509dac6c8bbf5461118}), it should be in Germany (-15{7d3485657e94c2a51293ca186d4450b2f27c317aa7ee3509dac6c8bbf5461118}) and Switzerland (-15{7d3485657e94c2a51293ca186d4450b2f27c317aa7ee3509dac6c8bbf5461118}). ) be easier. -9{7d3485657e94c2a51293ca186d4450b2f27c317aa7ee3509dac6c8bbf5461118}) or Belgium (-5{7d3485657e94c2a51293ca186d4450b2f27c317aa7ee3509dac6c8bbf5461118}). Even a nice surprise for the Australians with a jump of + 14{7d3485657e94c2a51293ca186d4450b2f27c317aa7ee3509dac6c8bbf5461118}.

With 245 million bottles, the sector is expected to generate sales of around 4 billion euros or 55 million bottles less than in 2019 and a loss of around 1 billion within one year.

Producers and traders believe they avoided the worst by jointly limiting their grape and wine production starting in July to avoid a fall in prices. Decisions that will allow the industry to calmly approach the year 2021 for the time being.

What future for champagne in 2021?

What future for champagne in 2021? Maxime Toubart, President of the General Union of Champagne Vintners (SGV), would like to be optimistic: 'At the end of our first imprisonment we saw the desire to meet again, to celebrate, it was like a post-war period.'

Thanks to good crisis management, which ultimately resulted in less bad sales than expected, the industry is satisfied with the 'maintenance of champagne value' that was 'unsold' and the lack of 'social breakdown' 'or bankruptcy, even with certain regroupings of structures are in progress.

A comeback in the USA

For its part, the LVMH group, which includes Dom Pérignon, Moët & Chandon, Mercier, Krug, Ruinart and Veuve Clicquot, stated that 'after a significant drop in volume in the second quarter of 2020,' champagne activity improved trends in the second Half of the year, especially in the US '.

In fact, champagne is the only French wine that does not suffer from the 25{7d3485657e94c2a51293ca186d4450b2f27c317aa7ee3509dac6c8bbf5461118} surcharge levied by the Trump administration that charges the French wine industry as the American market is their main export business.

AFP