You are currently viewing the International Edition. You can also switch to the Hong Kong Edition.
Sunday 5 July 2015

Champagne trends of 2013: 2. Grower cuvee decline

7th June, 2013 by Patrick Schmitt

Challenging conditions in Champagne’s mature markets are making it increasingly hard for grower Champagnes to compete with cut-price brands.

champagne trend 2

Growers are increasingly selling their grapes than risking the market for bottled Champagne

Those operating at very low margins in particular are under threat. Although a négociant, not a grower, one notable illustration of the strain in the market was the collapse of Pressoirs de France, which went into administration at the start of the year, unable to make a profit on bottles sold for as little as €8 a bottle due to rising raw material costs, above all grapes.

Indeed, its Laurence D label was sold in Retailer Leclerc as part of a half price loyalty card deal late last year which allowed shoppers to effectively buy a bottle for €5.45. (€10.90 would buy them a bottle of Champagne and a €5.45 voucher to spend on food in-store the following day).

Such an environment also means the number of Récoltants-Manipulants – or grower Champagnes ­– are declining. “It’s hard to monitor the figures exactly, but there are roughly 5,000 growers [who produce wine from their own grapes],” says Pascal Férat, head of Champagne’s Syndicat Général des Vignerons. “Some are stopping, some are starting, but I believe the numbers are declining,” he adds.

Not only are such growers finding it hard to compete with cut-price Champagnes – particularly supermarket exclusive labels – but rising grape prices makes selling their grapes increasingly attractive, rather than making wine and bottling it themselves. And this way they are guaranteed payment within 12 months.

In essence, growers are wondering why they should go to the cost of producing and storing Champagne if there’s no guaranteed market and the margins are slim.

Thibault le Mailloux, communications director for the CIVC, confirms the downward trend with figures to suggest 57% of the grapes harvested in Champagne last year were sold to the houses, compared to 55% in 2011, and fewer than 53% in 2008.

Meanwhile, Patrice Noyelle, managing director at Pol Roger, believes that growers are now bottling 400 fewer hectolitres than at their peak. “The trend is to move from grower bottling,” he says. “So the big houses will get bigger.”

However, he also makes the point that the best of the grower Champagnes are now well established brands in their own right.

Other Champagne trends reported by the drinks business include:

3. Stagnant west

4. Distant success

5. Perfect fruit

6. Fine wine following

7. Going green

8. Disgorgement debate

9. Reinstating rituals

10. Sweet surge

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

If that's interesting, how about these?

William Grant in World Cup deal

William Grant & Sons has been awarded exclusive spirits and champagne pouring more...

UK importer confident of Champagne comeback

One leading UK Champagne importer is optimistic for the future of the category more...

Top 10 architectural wonders of the wine world

You don't have to look far to find stunning examples of architectural prowess more...

International Business Development Assistant

London, United Kingdom

To be determined, based on the profile and experience of the candidate

Louis Latour Agencies signs Gosset

Louis Latour Agencies marked its 25th anniversary last night with the more...

How to drink like a billionaire

With access to tropical islands, private yachts and the best food and drink more...

Asda warns suppliers of Champagne scam

Asda is warning suppliers to be on guard after several companies received more...

PR Senior Account Manager/Director

London, United Kingdom

Depending on experience

Top 10 wine brands 2015

In a year that saw major shifts in the global wine market, the drinks business more...

Top 10 ways to reuse a wine bottle

If you are anything like the db team, it won't take long to amass a collection more...

Top 10 modern wine drinker stereotypes

From Rioja lovers to Champagne quaffers, the drinks business has more...

Supplier Relationship Manager

London, United Kingdom

Top 10 estates for en primeur returns

db rounds up the 10 best Bordeaux estates for en primeur returns on more...

Armand de Brignac launches its most expensive Champagne ever

Jay-Z’s Champagne brand Armand de Brignac has launched its most expensive more...

The London Wine Fair in pictures

From red trews and foie gras macaroons to 2CVs, wine on tap and temporary more...

Social Media Editor

Competitive

Top 10 banned alcoholic drinks

The drinks trade has seen its fair share of drinks banned from public more...

Top 10 worst estates for en primeur returns

Using Liv-ex's data, db rounds up the worst 10 châteaux for en primeur more...

World's most extravagant wineries

With Château Margaux preparing to unveil its new winery and cellar, designed more...

Business Development Executive

London, United Kingdom

£25-£30K + benefits, depending on experience

Cristal launches 'underrated' vintage

Champagne Louis Roederer has released its Cristal prestige cuvée from the more...

Mumm releases Santana sparkler

Legendary guitarist Carlos Santana has teamed up with Mumm Napa to release a more...

Champagne needs to 'create a new occasion'

Champagne needs to "create a new occasion" and better communicate its brand if more...

Mumm releases vintage collection

Champagne Mumm has released a new “Collection du Chef de Caves”, featuring more...

How to become a 'wine expert' in four hours

A doctor of psychology has devised 10 simple steps which he claims can set you more...