Champagne sales hit €6 billion as consumers toast end of lockdowns

Irish wine seller David Whelehan says demand is still strong for premium brands, even in January

Champagne sales soared in 2022, with exports outperforming French domestic sales for the first time. Picture: Alexander Naglestad/Unsplash

Global champagne sales topped €6 billion for the first time in 2022 as consumers celebrated the end of pandemic lockdowns, new figures show.

According to a report from Comité Champagne, the association of Champagne growers, co-operatives and merchants, sales reached 326 million bottles in 2022, up 1.6 per cent on 2021.

While domestic sales were down by 1.7 per cent to 138.4 million bottles, exports increased by 4.3 per cent to about 187.5 million bottles, meaning exports took a majority share of the Champagne market for the first time.

Comité Champagne attributes the increase to people’s desire to celebrate after two difficult pandemic-focused years. In 2020, shipments totalled just 245 million bottles, down by 18 per cent on to 2019.

“Champagne, as the supreme wine of celebrations, had been the natural choice of the world’s consumers as they rejoiced at the end of lockdowns and rediscovered a taste for parties, for going out and travelling,” David Chatillon, president of the Union des Maisons de Champagne and co-president of the Comité Champagne, told Decanter magazine.

David Whelehan of Whelehans Wines in south Co Dublin said that despite the cost of living crisis, Champagne sales were very strong in Ireland in 2022, and look set to continue to grow throughout 2023.

“We witnessed significant growth in demand for Champagne, both at the grower level and at the prestige cuvée level, last year,” Whelehan told Food&Wine, citing Dom Pérignon, Cristal, Vintage Krug and Pol Roger Winston Churchill as being particularly sought after.

“There continues to be strong demand at the super premium level even in January."

Whelehan’s Champagne range is priced from €40 for a non-vintage bottle of Champagne Bénard-Pitois, to €310 for a bottle of Krug 2016.

There are 370 registered Champagne houses in France, as well as 130 co-operatives and more than 16,000 growers. Frost and disease resulted in a difficult growing season in 2022 which saw yields limited to 10,000kg per hectare, but the Comité Champagne said a “miraculous” 2022 harvest had resulted in an available yield of 12,000 kilograms per hectare, the highest level in fifteen years.

Last November, Philippe Schaus, the chief executive of Moet Hennessy, told Bloomberg that it was “running out of stock” of some of its top Champagnes in the wake of soaring post-Covid demand.