Champagne sales reached an all-time high last year, handily beating a previous mark set in 2019, as the relaxation of pandemic-related curbs fuelled a surge in exports, notably to the United States, producers said on Monday.
While French producers already said last year they expected a sales record, they now confirmed 2021 sales hit $5.7 billion, 14% above the pre-pandemic high.
Exports reached 180 million 0.75 litre bottles, up 37% from 2020 and 15% more than in 2019, while sales in France jumped 25% from the previous year to match 2019 sales at 140 million bottles, Union des Maisons de Champagne (UMC) told reporters.
Sales to the United States, champagne's top export market, soared 31% compared with 2019, reaching a record 34 million bottles.
The U.S. market has grown in each of the past 10 years, apart from the slump suffered in 2020 because of lockdown measures, UMC data showed.
Exports to Britain rose 7% on 2019 to 29 million bottles while sales to Germany jumped 28% to 15 million. Australia followed with 12 million bottles after exports there soared 53% from 2019.
UMC Chairman Jean-Marie Barillere said the fact that drinking champagne at home was cheaper than in a restaurant and it was readily available online had helped boost sales.
The record demand cheered producers who faced their worst output in 40 years in 2021 after vineyards were ravaged by frosts and mildew fungus attacks.
The fall in supply should not affect champagne's availability, however, as producers will be able to use their stocks. Champagne is typically made from a combination of wines produced the previous year and earlier.