UK remains biggest drinker of champagne outside France

champagne stock

Shipments of champagne to the UK grew last year, confirming it as the world’s largest export market, according to new figures.

The annual Comité Champagne report shows shipments were up 4.5% by volume – three times the rate of growth for the world as a whole – but they were up even more by value, increasing by 7.3%.

Value is the real force behind the champagne market, points out Françoise Peretti, director of the Champagne Bureau, the UK educational and promotional arm of the Comité Champagne.

“The focus for everyone in champagne is value, not volume. Champagne growers and houses understand the precious heritage of which they are the keepers, and they will spare no effort to conserve and enhance it.”

Last July’s listing of the Champagne region as a Unesco World Heritage Site was a powerful symbol of champagne’s historic status, according to the Comité Champagne, and it represents “a stimulus to action that unites the champagne community in a common mission”.

Françoise points to the broad scope of the heritage listing, which embraces champagne hillsides, houses and cellars across the whole Champagne region. “This is not just an encouragement to tourism in the region, though tourism will doubtless benefit. This is a monument to all dimensions of champagne’s uniqueness and a pointer to the actions that will be deployed to guarantee its future.”

The annual report, published yesterday, highlighted new initiatives in vineyard conversation, care for the environment, advanced winemaking techniques, and state-of-the-art digital communications aimed at consumers, educators and professional audiences.

“It’s a continuing journey of enhancement,” Françoise added, “an eternal quest for excellence, built on pride in the past and a determination to constantly develop that heritage for future generations and consumers alike.”

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