PARIS – Asian countries have shown their taste for champagne, with more consumed outside of France than in the country last year, a trade group said Tuesday.
More of the sparkling white wine was guzzled in the rest of the world than in France, where it is made, for the first time in a century in 2018, according to Comite Champagne (Champagne Committee).
Thibaut Le Mailloux, communications director at Comite Champagne, described Japan as a “great miracle” and said sales have grown uninterrupted in the market since 2009.
The east Asian country consumed 13.6 million bottles, a 203 million euro ($230.5 million) turnover, last year which was an increase in volume of around 6%.
Le Mailloux said that China is “emerging more and more” as a drinker of the product and, together with Hong Kong and Taiwan, consumed 4.7 million bottles and almost 100 million euros ($114 million) of turnover.
He added that South Korea and Thailand are also promising countries in the Asian market.
Last year 301.9 million bottles of champagne were sold worldwide, with a record turnover of around 4.9 billion euros ($5.6 billion), according to data from Comite Champagne.
The number of bottles sold dropped by 0.8% to 302 million in 2018 from 307.3 million in 2017.
This was mainly due to falling sales in France and the United Kingdom, which account for 60% of the total market.
More than half, around 51%, of the wine from the designated 34,000-hectare production zone was exported abroad, the highest level since the First World War.
In France there was a 4% drop in volume, which Le Mailloux said was because the French “drink less wine” in general.
This came despite a spike in sales, an additional 300,000 bottles, attributed to the celebrations of the country’s victory in the soccer world cup in Russia in July.
Sales in France were also affected by the “yellow vest” protests, that have been taking place in the country since November, which has affected distribution.
Comite Champagne said 2018’s results reinforce Champagne’s valuation strategy, based on a constant search for qualitative excellence and demanding environmental commitments.