A new campaign to educate trade professionals and consumers about Cognac is being launched, as official figures show that global Cognac sales have fallen by 9% in volume terms in the last year.

Cognac's official trade body, the Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac (BNIC), has spent the last two years developing an interactive CD-Rom, designed to educate trade professionals, journalists and consumers about the drink and its different varieties.

The CD, which is available in English, French and German, caters for different levels of knowledge, encompassing introductory, intermediate and advanced classes, BNIC said this week.

The launch comes as BNIC figures show that Cognac sales have slipped by 9% to 140m barrels for the 12 months to the end of March, compared to the previous year.

BNIC officials blamed the fall on the economic crisis. Cognac volume sales in Europe fell by 9.6% for the period, while sales to North America were down by 15.7%. Cognac sales to the Far East were flat for the period.