- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 26, 2021

The first year of the coronavirus pandemic offered little to celebrate, so perhaps it’s no surprise that Champagne sales dropped by 18% in 2020.

Roughly 245 million bottles of the French sparkler were shipped in 2020 compared to nearly 300 million in 2019, as the virus shuttered bars and restaurants and wiped gatherings off the calendar, the Comité Champagne Interprofessional Champagne, a producers group, reported Tuesday.

“The year 2020 has been particularly trying for the Champagne sector, all over the world,” CIVC said. “The closure of the main places of consumption and sales, as well as the cancellation of many events weighed on the sector which had to adapt very quickly, in a context of strong uncertainties, to withstand the consequences of the health and economic crisis.”

Sales came in at 4 billion euros, a decline of 1 billion euros (nearly $1.22 billion).

CIVC said the French market was down 20%, while the three leading export markets of the U.S., U.K. and Japan dropped 20%, 20% and 28%, respectively.

The sector initially thought sales would drop a full third, for a loss of 1.7 billion euros, according to Reuters.

But harvest adjustments, resilience in some European markets and a 14% increase in Australia, which has been praised for its COVID-19 response, mitigated losses.

“Despite the crisis, Champagne has remained in the hearts of consumers who needed to put something exceptional in their daily lives and to choose quality products when many other pleasures were impossible due to the health crisis,” said CIVC co-President Jean-Marie Barillère. “It is the strength and power of our appellation to guarantee prestige, but above all quality for consumers.”

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