According to Eurostat, cumulative exports of sparkling wines from the European Union (EU) fell last year (2021) for the first time in a decade. The reduction was largely because of a massive drop in champagne sales, though prosecco and cava sold well.
As we would have it, Covid-19 pandemic dampened wine trade globally in 2020, the latest year for which data are available, as restaurants and bars remained closed for long periods.
Champagne was hit the hardest. Sales outside the EU of the famed French sparkling wine fell over 20 per cent by volume to 66 million litres in 2020 from nearly 84 million litres the previous year.
EU exports fell from a peak of 528 million litres in 2019 to 494 million litres in 2020 – still nearly twice the level recorded in 2010.
Of the three main categories of sparkling wine exported from the EU, only champagne recorded a significant drop by volume. Prosecco (native to Italy) , which is by far the most exported, recorded sales outside the EU of 205 million litres in 2020, compared to nearly 207 million litres in 2019.
Total champagne sales, including in the EU, fell 18 per cent last year by volume, producers’ group CIVC has estimated. Despite this drop, vintage champagnes have proven a lucrative draw for investors this year, outperforming all major financial markets, even crypto currencies.
On the contrary, Cava (native to Spain) increased its exports by more than 10 per cent to 58 million litres in 2020, getting closer to replacing champagne as the second most sold European Union sparkling wine product outside the 27-nation bloc.
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