Champagne boom 10-19-2022

As the leaves don new colors and the great harvest feasts and festivals approach, the demand for bubbly continues to increase. A soaring trend.

In 2021, Champagne exports into the U.S. increased by 69% over 2020. Those are eye-popping numbers. And Champagne was just part of the story—prosecco sales increased 25%. Cava sales increased by only a small percentage, but that was built on years of increases. America—and the world—clearly has an increasing fondness for fizz.

Earlier this year, the Comité Champagne, the organization representing independent Champagne producers and houses, announced the region had achieved record sales of 322 million bottles in 2021. This year the number is on target to be even higher. In the first half of 2022, Champagne sales were up 13.8% compared to the same period in 2021.

The increased demand for sparkling wine is not new. Daniel Mettyear, the head of research at IWSR Drinks Market Analysis: “Sparkling wine has been enjoying a sustained period of long-term growth over a number of years, driven in large part by a shift away from exclusively celebratory occasions, towards more everyday consumption.” He notes that casual consumption significantly increased during Covid.

To the great joy of winemakers, the bubbly trend appears driven by younger drinkers, a coveted cohort. Wine Intelligence research indicates half of sparkling wine drinkers are under 40 years old. In contrast, only 30% of still wine drinkers are under 40. Wine Intelligence data indicates younger consumers have turned to sparkling because social gatherings are more celebratory post-pandemic. Also, “sparkling wine offers easily-grasped categories, with delineated price brackets which make choices relatively easy: is it a Prosecco occasion or a Champagne occasion?”

Increased demand provides a problem—strains on supply. Smaller wine shops have increased difficulty securing product. A Florida seller notes there are certain famous Champagnes you can no longer buy in her state as an independent retailer.

A problem, certainly, but it would not be surprising to find sparkling wine producers popping corks in celebration.

Tasting notes:

• Gancia Prosecco Brut DOC: Light, lively sparkling that is easy on your wallet. $11-14. Link to my review

• Anna de Codorníu Brut Rosé NV: Delicious pleasure at pleasurable price. Cava. $13-15. Link to my review

• Bruno Paillard Première Cuvée Extra Brut Champagne NV delivers elegance, balance, racy acidity, creamy mouthfeel. $50-60. Link to my review

Last round: What do you get when you cross an insomniac, an agnostic and a dyslexic? Somebody who’s up all night wondering if there’s a dog.