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?