According to the estimates released by the Comité Champagne in January, Champagne exports worldwide, and sales to the French market, fell by 6 million bottles in the past 12 months, compared with the same period in 2015, when the region shipped a total of 312.5m bottles.
The final figure of 306.6m for 2016 means that Champagne sales have now dropped back below 2014’s total, which amounted to 307.1m bottles.
Explaining the fall, Jean-Marie Barillère, who is president of the Union des Maisons de Champagne, said that the decline was a result of falling sales in France and falling exports to the British markets in particular.
Barillère recorded that Champagne exports to the UK alone had fallen by around 3m bottles, in contrast to other European countries like Spain and Italy, which had enjoyed increased exports, meaning that the EU (excluding France) accounted for 77.5m bottles in 2016, down from 80.2m in 2015.
Outside its domestic market and Europe, Champagne did enjoy export growth in 2016, but with a modest 0.5% increase.