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U.S. Champagne Imports Hit Hard by 2020 Disruptions

April 1, 2021

Champagne shipments to the U.S. fell nearly 20% last year as the region felt the compound effects of the pandemic and fears over tariffs that had prompted stockpiling in 2019, according to The Champagne Bureau, USA. In volume terms, the U.S. imported 20.8 million bottles of Champagne in 2020, down 18.8% from 25.7 million in 2019 and lower than any year since 2014. Global Champagne volumes fell 17.9%, better than the 30% loss initially expected.

Losses in the U.S. market were even greater in value terms, falling 24.5% to €501.9 million ($588.8m) from €665.2 million ($780.3m) in 2019. As with the volume numbers, this was the lowest value for Champagne shipments since 2014. The difference between volume and value losses were due to two factors, according to Gaëlle Egoroff, appellation protection and promotions director for Comité Champagne. “The first is an unfavorable euro-dollar exchange rate; and the second is the export of fewer high value cuvées compared to 2019.” The stockpiling behavior observed in 2019 saw extra high-value wines imported to the U.S., exaggerating the unfavorable comparison last year.

Meanwhile, the love affair between the U.S. consumer and rosé Champagne continues. Pink bubbly made up 18.2% of U.S. shipments by volume and 19.2% by value, the largest segment of the pie besides brut, edging out cuvées de prestige in value. The U.S. now constitutes 29% of all Champagne rosé shipments, including the French domestic market.—Danny Sullivan

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