If you’re looking to pop some bubbly on New Year’s Eve or for any other late year holiday, you might want to start stocking up soon. That’s because strong demand for Champagne is likely to cause some shortages toward the end of 2021, agents have warned. Furthermore, consumers are unlikely to see holiday discounts come the season.
“It’s not a case of Champagne running out, but what we’ll see is less promotional activity, especially over Christmas,” Andrew Hawes, chairman of the country’s Champagne Agents Association and managing director of Mentzendorff, told The Drinks Business. “It will vary from brand to brand, but we will not see the strong promotional activity. A lot of Champagne is sold on pricing, but there won’t be the promotional support [this year].”
Trump tariffs and the COVID-19 pandemic had caused demand for Champagne in the US to fall last year. However, this year, the US has picked up more strongly than anticipated, and agents are having to restock the entire supply chain. Many had made a poor assumption that the Champagne market had “collapsed” and as a result there would be a lot of stock that needed to be sold – however the picture was more complicated. “The established premium houses had a good year – Bollinger, for example, sold more than it ever has before in the UK,” said Hawes. “The off-trade was very strong last year and strong brands in off-trade still had good years, especially – but not exclusively – in the UK.”
The drop in sales due to the pandemic along with yields in 2020 being severely restricted by the Committee Champagne caused a lot movement in the industry. Many Champagne houses decided to reduce the number of bottles they bottled due to the fall in demand. Additionally, Champagne has had a number of strong vintages in a row, which has caused more wine to be held back to be released as vintage offerings. That means there was last liquid for traditional non-vintage Champagnes.
The Champagne houses are first looking to support restaurants and hotels who were the worst hit by the pandemic. This could lead to less availability in stores. Still, the shortage is not expected to raise prices as the houses look to support the on-trade getting back on track.
For more information, head over to Comité Champagne’s official website.