by Hervé Lalau
Champagne exports were up to an all time high of almost 151m bottles, sold in 190 countries, according to statistics just released by the Comité interprofessionnel du vin de Champagne (CIVC). Driven by growth in emerging
markets like Russia and China, total exports were up by 7.3% in volume in 2007. Value rose even faster, with total export sales increasing by 10.4% to reach €2.36b.
France, itself, is still the largest market for Champagne. The French drank almost 188m bottles last year, up 3.7%, bringing the total volume of Champagne sold to 338.7m bottles.
The largest export market for Champagne is still the United Kingdom, which with 38.9m bottles saw an increase of 5.8% over the previous year. Thereafter follow the United States with 21.7m, Germany with 12.9m, Italy with 10.3m and Belgium, which remains number 1 in terms of consumption per person, with 9.9m bottles.
Among the top ten, America, although the second largest export market, was the only one that saw its sales drop, by 6.2%, probably reflecting the weak dollar. Japan, on the other hand, with 9.1 million bottles, was up 14.4% and now stands 6th in the rankings, followed by the Swiss with 6.1m bottles in 7th place.
Spain, although a much larger country than Switzerland, drank only 4.5 million bottles, but the 27.5% increase is impressive for a country which produces large volumes of bubbles, mostly cava, itself. The Netherlands with 4,1m (+10.5%) and Australia with 3.3m bottles (+12.2%) round out the top ten export markets.
Although not yet numbering among the elite, sales in Russia jumped 41 per cent to pass the one million bottle for the first time. Exports also rose by 18 per cent to the United Arab Emirates on the coat tails of the booming luxury hotel business, but remained just shy of the one million bottle mark. Exports to China soared 30% to 650,000, putting the rising dragon on track to join the top ten in the next few years.