Globally, 245 million bottles of champagne were shipped, down 18% from 2019.
Epernay, FRANCE – 2020 has been a particularly difficult time for the champagne industry in the United States and around the world. The closure of key consumption and distribution centers and the cancellation of numerous events have put pressure on the company and led to a 20% decrease in shipments of American champagne by 2020. This radical change required the Champagne industry to adapt quickly in the face of great uncertainty to avoid the effects of the health and economic crisis.
In 2020, 18% fewer bottles of champagne were shipped worldwide than the year before. Industry revenue was expected to be about $4.8 billion (‘4 billion), but year-end losses led to total revenue of about $1.2 billion (‘1 billion) for the year.
The champagne industry has faced global turbulence before, and more recently after the 2008 financial crisis. Champagne shipments to the United States fell by almost 27% in 2009 as a result of the global economic crisis. However, the industry experienced seven consecutive years of recovery and growth in champagne shipments to the United States between 2012 and 2019 and is taking similar steps to ensure its success in the years ahead. The Champagne Committee therefore met on 25 January and confirmed the decision taken last July to adjust the 2020 harvest so that the Champagne sector can look forward to 2021 with confidence.
In the face of an unprecedented crisis, the organisation of our sector has shown resilience. The winegrowers and the champagne houses have come to a wise decision about last year’s harvest. The adjustment to which the Champagne Committee [on 25. January] gives everyone some leeway, said Maxim Tubar, co-chairman of the Champagne Committee and president of the Syndicat général des vignerons.
Despite the crisis, Champagne is close to the hearts of consumers who feel the need to keep something exceptional in their daily lives and opt for quality products at a time when so many other pleasures are being negated by the health crisis, added Jean-Marie Barillière, co-chairman of the Champagne Committee and president of the Union des Maisons de Champagne. It is the strength and power of our name to represent prestige and especially quality to our consumers.
The two co-chairs also emphasized the champagne industry’s long-term goals of sustainability and ecological transformation to ensure champagne’s future success. The sector has its own certification for sustainable viticulture in Champagne, with ambitious targets such as the elimination of herbicides by 2025 and 100% organic certification by 2030. For more information on sustainability in Champagne, click here.
The Champagne Bureau, USA, is the official representative of the Comité Champagne, a trade association representing winegrowers and Champagne houses in France. The Bureau seeks to educate American consumers about the uniqueness of Champagne wines and make them aware of the need to protect the Champagne name. For more information, see http://www.champagne.com.