Champagne vs. Sparkling wines

by Eve Resnick on January 7, 2009

in General

Yesterday, during the New Wine Consumer conference, Don and Petie Kladstrup, authors of Wine and War and Champagne, told us about the decline of Champagne sales. According to them, consumers chose to spend their Champagne budget on 6 bottles of a cheaper brand rather than on one bottle of high-priced Champagne. In spite of this switch, Don and Petie Kaldstrup are very confident in the resilience of the champagne vintners. As they reminded us, the wine industry was almost destroyed after World War I and hit again during World War II. But the vintners turned around and invented a new Champagne – the celebration drink by excellence.

What’s going on? While Champagne sales are declining – certainly temporarily – Italian sparkling wine exports registered a 29% increase in sales last year, with UK sales rising nearly 100%. Spanish cava is on the rise as well as Crémant from the Loire Valley, Bordeaux or Alsace. Less expensive, friendly, those drinks attract a cost concerned consumer. For how long?

{ 1 comment }

1 Katie January 8, 2009 at 7:40 pm

A. It’s about time people start sampling sparkling wines from other regions. Cremants, cavas, proseccos, etc. can be some great bargains.

B. Have you tasted some of these $35-$50 Champagnes after they’ve gone flat? They’re terrible! Many don’t merit the price tag…Factories are pumping out boatloads of mediocrity and selling it to you under the guise of a “luxury item”. Their inflated prices are more a product of huge advertising budgets than they are about quality production.

C. I hope more retailers start carrying Grower Champagnes. While these aren’t as inexpensive as sparklers from other countries, at least they are wines that speak of humanity, of place, of soul…not blended from several hundred lots from every corner of the region.

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