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Wine News

Champagne reports an excellent harvest

Champagne has reported a wonderful harvest in quality as well as quantity. The news is a relief to producers who need to meet a continuing growth in sales, up seven per cent on last year. The growth is led by exports, which are up 11 per cent. This is against a rise of just three per cent for sales in the domestic market. Picking, however, has been unusual this year in Champagne, with it continuing into a third week rather than the customary two because grapes have matured at different times. Bollinger’s Marketing Director Stephen Leroux told ThirtyFifty that, ‘This was due to very diverse climatic conditions after flowering, and throughout the summer.’ He said July was very hot, August fresh and early September very warm, even during the night, which accelerated botrytis, the fungal disease that rots the grapes. This meant ‘drastic measures of sorting out,’ he explained, but the results are ‘beautiful Chardonnays’ and ‘promising Pinots’.

Meanwhile, Bollinger is still deciding whether it will take legal action against certain French supermarkets that were slashing the prices of its Champagne, a move that was seen as denigrating the upmarket image of the product. Stephen Leroux told ThirtyFifty that the company is in the process of trying to find where the supermarkets got their supply, but that sales-wise the matter is ‘behind us’. Anyway, now the company has got a licence to see booming sales on the back of Bolly appearing in the new Bond movie, Casino Royale.