Despite the impact of global warming on the Champagne region with the average temperature increasing by 1.1 °C in 30 years the quality of the wines is very good for the year.
Wine makers faced spring frost which destroyed some of the buds and the heat waves of June and July burned more than 10 per cent of the potential harvest. Nevertheless, the warm and sunny climate in August and September combined with cool nights approaching harvest led the vines to an exceptional ripening with musts with a balance between acidity and sugar content as well as aromatic concentration that augurs well for future cuvees.
Picking started in the early days of September and is in the process of finishing now.
Champagne shipments in the world were down by 1.8% to 301.9 million bottles. France and the UK, which account for 60 per cent of total sales saw the sharpest decrease with volumes going down by 4% though their turnover was more resilient (-2%) in view of increase in price. Overall exports were on the rise (+0.6%). Increase in demand was mainly registered outside the European Union with the US importing 23.7 million bottles (+2.7%), Japan 13.6 million bottles (+5.5%), China, Hong Kong and Taiwan 4.7 million bottles (9.1%). After a strong evolution in the last 10 years, where sales increased by 134% in Australia, there was a slight decline of 1.8% to 8.4 million bottles.
At a Champagne Information Day in Belgium, the Benelux Champagne Bureau announced that sales to Belgium increased by 0.2 per cent to total over 9 million bottles. Belgium is the fifth champagne importing country and accounts for 5.8% of total Champagne exports. This figure does not take into account direct purchases of Champagne made by Belgians in France.
Since the beginning of the 21st century, sustainable development has been particularly important for Champagne with a decrease of 20% in its carbon footprint per bottle over the past 15 years and the objective to reduce it by 75% up to 2050. The region also saw a decrease in the use of pesticides and nitrogen fertilizers.
Champagne is a leader in the French wines and spirits sector and is the largest export player in the French wines and spirit industry.
Vineyards account for 0.4% of the world vineyard area and 4% of French vineyards. The sector is responsible for 30,000 direct jobs including around 15,000 employees. Approximately 120,000 seasonal workers are added for the harvest period.
Champagne is exported to more than 190 countries and accounts for 10% of volume and 36% of value of the world consumption of sparkling wines. The total turnover of champagne reached 4.9 billion euros.