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Champagne and Prosecco – one no growth, the other exploding

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The Financial Times presented an analysis of the UK market for champagne and prosecco which was illuminating.

It turns out that Champagne sales from France into the UK have been flat or slightly down since 2008. Prosecco sales are up 6000% over that same period. Champagne is of course expensive compared to prosecco. The article explains that the cost of production of Champagne is much higher because secondary fermentation has to happen in the bottle. Secondary fermentation in prosecco happens in a tank, reducing costs.

Last year we reported that reasonable grade cavas from Spain seemed to offer better value than prosecco. However, the LCBO carries a wide array of prosecco while stocking very few cava choices. We speculated at that time that the LCBO likely carried more prosecco in order to satisfy our large Italian community in this City. The article asserts that millennials in the UK see cava as “a dowdy brand less serious than champagne but more life affirming” – whatever that means (perhaps millennials know).

Certainly, we noticed in Greece that people were swilling back Aperol cocktails which combine Aperol, prosecco and sparking water in equal parts with a twist of citrus. A truly delicious summer drink!

The article concludes that most Champagne is mainly consumed by the French (eg., 13.5 million cases in 2015 compared to 2.5 million cases in the UK and only 1.4 million cases in the US). Unsurprisingly, the French are willing to support a French product, cost be damned.