Champagne and shortage, two words we’d rather not see next to each other. Well, this year on top of everything else. We’re also facing Champagne and alcohol supply issues across supermarkets in the UK.
We’re still feeling the effects of 2020
During the early stages of lockdown many Champagne houses took the decision to reduce the number of bottles they produced. We saw Yields being severely restricted by the Comité Champagne due to a sharp fall in demand. Understandably, it seems a lot of people didn’t feel like celebrating last year. Fast forward to now and we’re still feeling the effects of this production halt.
Demand for Champagne plummeted initially after lockdown V1, hence the restrictions in production. But after the hysteria had died down we actually saw a huge increase in demand, even surpassing the demand pre covid. Naturally around Christmas the demand for champagne increases. So as you can imagine, increased demand and decreased supply isn’t exactly a match made in heaven.
Certain Champagne brands are going to be more affected than others. Bollinger age their wines for three years and are adamant on sticking to that, to not compromise quality. It will take Bollinger a bit longer to return to their feet following the slowing of production. It’s fair to say they’ve probably been hardest hit, a victim of their own grandeur. Whilst other brands haven’t been hit as hard as Bollinger, many are still short of supply. You’ll be glad to hear the likes of Charles Heidsieck, Lanson, Perrier Jouet, and Laurent Perrier are all still available. So we’re much more likely to see gaps on supermarket shelves, rather than a complete champagne drought. Phew!
On the back of our departure from the European Union we’ve seen a major shortage of HGV drivers nationwide. Companies have been offering all manner of incentives to recruit drivers including £5000 sign up payments. Obviously, Champagne has to come from Champagne, meaning it is imported from France. Without an adequate number of drivers, this is another pressing issue for all kinds of imported goods. With Champagne being no exception.
The Wine and Spirit Trade Association have reported it is taking up to five times longer to import products than a year ago, with two-day orders taking more than two weeks to process. 48 different companies are calling on the transport secretary to do more about the shortage in drivers but we’re seeing little evidence of progress so far.
Should I be worried about the Champagne shortage?
The bottom line is…not really. Whilst you may struggle to find certain brands such as Bollinger this Christmas, sufficient alternatives will still be available. However, we’d suggest getting stocked up with your Champagne of choice now, as you might miss out when we approach the end of December. If you’re needing to stock up the cellar for Christmas, Club Vino have you covered with our sparkling collection, handpicked by our Sommelier Marco Castelanelli. Cheers!