Champagne stirring but not yet awake to threat

Champagne is waking from its slumber in the vineyards of complacency but more needs to be done to claw back sales from other sparkling wines, according to Spiros Malandrakis of Euromonitor International. 

“Champagne’s 0.5% total volume growth in 2014 is a recovery in the context of the two previous negative growth years but still way behind the frothy exuberance enjoyed in its heydays,” the senior alcoholic drinks analyst told wine professionals at Wine Vision 2015 in Bilbao.

“The notoriously conservative category’s assertion that the rising tide of affordable, casual and unpretentious other sparkling wines pose no threat to its positioning, is crumbling like another overoptimistic forecast of Western European GDP.”

The senior drinks analyst said that while North American economic fundamentals and resurgent aspirational consumption did provide the fuel for solid growth in the US and western Europe – the category’s historic bastion - the lack of geographic diversification is taking and will continue to take a toll.

Malandrakis added: “Since catching the Chinese freight train of aspiration takes time – while its economy is currently facing its own headwinds - organic growth in mature markets is more essential than ever.

“To achieve growth, you have to look outside the box and understand that consumers, at the end of the day, don’t want to be preached to and they want to consume what they want to consume. If you ignore that then you will always pay the price.”