CHAMPAGNE INDUSTRY CRISIS

Why champagne grapes could end up as hand sanitiser in France

Vinyards in the Chapagne region in France
Vinyards in the Chapagne region in France RFI/Agnieszka Kumor

With nearly 100 million bottles of champagne that may be lie unsold in France’s cellars this year, curbs on production may see champagne grapes sold off at a heavy discount other uses.

Advertising

The Covid lockdown has affected sales of what is perhaps the most popular luxury drink in France – champagne.

Weddings, international travel and fine dining, key factors determining champagne sales, were put on hold during confinement.

In the region of Champagne, the hub of global champagne production in Eastern France, producers claim that nearly 1.7 billion euros in sales were lost due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Around a 100 million champagne bottles would be lying in cellars unsold at the end of the year, they claimed.

Champagne sales have collapsed during the coronavirus pandemic
Champagne sales have collapsed during the coronavirus pandemic AFP/File

Champagne as hand sanitiser?

The CIVC regulates champagne production each year in order to maintain a balance between production and market prices, a mechanism similar to the oil industry.

A meeting on August 18 is expected to bring about extremely tight curbs to limit excess production. It is expected that record quantities of grapes will be destroyed or sold at discounted prices to distilleries.

Smaller producers are alarmed by the move, and some fear that the famous grapes used to produce champagne may end up to produce alcohol for hand sanitiser, as is already the case in wine-producing regions such as Alsace.

(With AFP and France 24)

 

Daily newsletterReceive essential international news every morning