French champagne producers are expecting to sell 300m bottles this year compared to 293m last year. The forecast is based on a 2% increase in domestic consumption since the start of the year and a 10% rise in exports.

Trade body, the Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne (CIVC), highlights an increase in volumes to the UK in the first seven months of the year of 12%, while exports to the US and Germany were up by 14% and 19% respectively.

Meanwhile, the 2004 harvest is expected to be exceptional in terms of both quantity and quality.

Last year's harvest was the smallest since 1981 and producers had to dip into their stocks to satisfy demand.