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Champagne Shipments to U.S. Decrease 20 Percent in 2020, Industry Takes Steps to Meet Challenges of Global Pandemic

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Globally, Champagne shipments totaled 245 million bottles, down 18 percent from 2019

January 27th – Épernay, FRANCE –   The year 2020 was a particularly trying time for the Champagne sector in the United States and around the world. The closure of primary consumption and sales hubs, along with the cancellation of many events, put the business under pressure and led to a 20 percent decline in Champagne shipments to the United States in 2020. This drastic change called for rapid adaptability from the Champagne industry, in a climate of considerable uncertainty, to ward off the consequences of the health and economic crisis.

Globally, Champagne shipped 18 percent fewer bottles in 2020 compared to the previous year, despite an anticipated loss of 30 percent in the first half of the year. Turnover in the sector was anticipated to be around $4.8 billion (€4 billion), but losses at the end of the year led to total turnover of around $1.2 billion (€1 billion) for the year.  

The Champagne industry has weathered global upheaval before, most recently following the 2008 financial crisis. Champagne shipments to the United States fell nearly 27 percent in 2009 in the wake of the global economic crisis. However, the industry bounced back and saw seven consecutive years of growth in Champagne shipments to the United States between 2012 and 2019; it is taking similar steps to ensure success in the years to come. For example, the Comité Champagne met on January 25 and confirmed last July’s decision to adjust grape harvest volumes for the year 2020 so the Champagne industry can approach 2021 with confidence.

“Faced with an unprecedented crisis, the organization of our sector has proved its resilience. Together, the Champagne winegrowers and houses made a wise decision about yields last year. The adjustment that the Comité Champagne agreed to [on January 25] will give everyone a certain room for maneuvering,” said Maxime Toubart, co-president of the Comité Champagne and president of the Syndicat Général des Vignerons.

“Despite the crisis, Champagne remains dear to the hearts of consumers who feel the need to keep something exceptional in their everyday lives and to choose quality products when so many other pleasures are unavailable due to the health crisis,” added Jean-Marie Barillère, co-president of the Comité Champagne and president of the Union des Maisons de Champagne. “It is the strength and power of our appellation to be the champion of prestige and, above all, quality among our consumers.”

The two co-presidents also emphasized the Champagne industry’s long-standing sustainability and environmental transformation objectives to ensure the success of Champagne into the future. The sector has its own “Sustainable Viticulture in Champagne” certification, with ambitious targets that include zero herbicides by 2025 and 100% environmental certification by 2030. To learn more about sustainability in Champagne, click here.

The Champagne Bureau, USA, is the official U.S. representative of the Comité Champagne, a trade association which represents the grape growers and houses of Champagne, France. The Bureau works to educate U.S. consumers about the uniqueness of the wines of Champagne and expand their understanding of the need to protect the Champagne name. For more information, visit us online at http://www.champagne.com

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