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In 2020, Champagne shipments totalled 245 million bottles, which is down by 18% on 2019. The health crisis has certainly taken its toll, but Champagne is taking steps to weather it.
Epernay, 26 January 2021 – 2020 was a particularly gruelling year for the Champagne industry, all over the world. Under pressure from the closure of main sales and consumer outlets and the cancellation of scores of events, the industry has had to adapt quickly amid considerable uncertainty to lessen the blow of the health and economic crisis.
Champagne has recorded a drop of 18% in the number of bottles shipped, compared with a feared loss of 30% in the first half of 2020, based on end-of-year shipments. Industry-wide revenues are expected to be around €4bn – a loss of around €1bn for the year.
Already in decline before the crisis, the French market has continued to fall (-20%). Champagne’s three leading export markets have similarly recorded sharp slumps this year: -20% in the United States, -20% in the United Kingdom and -28% in Japan. Mitigating these drops, however, is the relative strength of traditional markets in Continental Europe: Belgium (-5%), Germany (-15%) and Switzerland (-9%). The Australian market has even put in a strong upward performance with growth of 14%. Taken as a whole, export markets lost 16% of their volume*.
Meeting today, the Comité Champagne has confirmed last July’s wise decision to adjust grape harvest volumes for the year 2020 to distribute the efforts between the Growers and Houses. In light of the economic performances recorded, it was also decided to supplement the available harvest (8,000 kg/ha) by drawing 400kg per hectare from the joint trade grape reserve. Thanks to these decisions, the industry can look to 2021 with confidence.
"In these unprecedented times of crisis, the unique organisation of our sector has proven its resilience. As early as July, Champagne Growers and Houses united in making the necessary, wise decisions about yields. The adjustment that the Comité Champagne has agreed on today will allow everyone some leeway," explained Maxime Toubart, Co-President of the Comité Champagne and President of the Syndicat Général des Vignerons.
"Despite the crisis, Champagne has remained popular with consumers who have felt the need to brighten up their everyday lives with something exceptional and to choose quality products when so many other pleasures were out of reach due to the health crisis," added Jean-Marie Barillère, Co-President of the Comité Champagne and President of the Union des Maisons de Champagne. "Our designation is a guarantee of prestige and above all quality for consumers – that is its strength and enduring appeal." »
The two co-presidents also sought to highlight the industry’s efforts in terms of promotion on the one hand and of decisively upholding Champagne’s environmental transition goals on the other**.
* The shipment statistics per country are initial trends, estimated on the basis of 80% of volumes shipped.
** The Champagne industry has adopted its own certification, "Viticulture Durable en Champagne", and set ambitious goals with zero-herbicide by 2025 and 100% environmental certification by 2030 (HVE ambition or higher). The environmental transition is a long-term priority and has already been a central concern for the industry for more than two decades. As such, over and above these collective initiatives, we commend any efforts at the individual level towards greater sustainability.