As the wine of joie de vivre, social gatherings and celebration, Champagne has been hard hit by the world economic crisis linked to Covid-19 and suffered a historic drop in shipments.
Champagne Winegrowers and Houses met this morning in Epernay and agreed a yield of 8,000 kilos per hectare (equivalent to 230 million bottles) for the 2020 harvest.
Bearing in mind the uncertainties faced by the business, Champagne has altered the terms relating to bottling and payments for this harvest, which will now depend on figures reported by the markets in the course of 2020.
This approach, which demonstrates the resilience of Champagne’s interprofessional organisation, will allow the sellers of grapes to maintain an acceptable revenue, while allowing the sellers of bottles to match the demands of their customers and protect their cashflow.
The harvest, characterised by fine quality and relatively small quantities due to drought, started on 17 August, two weeks ahead of the ten-year average. As is the rule in Champagne, grapes are all picked by hand, with around 100,000 seasonal workers engaged for the task. Picking was conducted in conditions adapted to the health crisis.
There was no appropriate response from European or national authorities to the challenge of the crisis in Champagne, but the measures that the business itself has taken have all the same served to protect its common priorities: these being the reputation of the appellation and its commitment to the environment.
Epernay, 18th August, 2020
Thibaut Le Mailloux
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