Champagne Industry Adapts To New Reality Amid Coronavirus Challenges

Posted: Jul 13, 2020

Under a warm, blue sky, Thierry Voirin is wandering through his fields of vines. Carefully, he examines them, looks at the leaves, feels the soil.

Here, in the only place in the world allowed to use the name for its sparkling wine, his grapes will be used to make champagne.

It is a luxury product, but Thierry is not living the champagne lifestyle.

Once a builder, he took up viniculture after losing his job a decade ago. He has slowly built up his holding of two hectares and walks through them with pride.

The mild weather, and the lack of storms, means this year's crop could be of an exceptional quality. Except - it may never get picked.

The closure of bars, restaurants and events means bottles are standing idle in cellars

Coronavirus has caused huge damage to the champagne industry. Restaurants and bars account for a great proportion of champagne sales. Then there are weddings and other social occasions; sports events and festivals.

All those bottles that are normally drunk in celebration... have never been sold.

During the European lockdown, it was estimated that sales of champagne were down by more than 75%. Now, as the continent returns to a sort of normality, consumption is rising, but it's predicted that only 200 million bottles will be sold this year - about 100 million fewer than in 2019.

Adam Parsons
July 11, 2020
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