Last year was a record year for Champagne exports with volumes up 7.3% on the previous year to 150.9m bottles, according to figures from trade body, the Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne (CIVC).

The UK remains the leading market outside of France with 38.9m bottles, up 5.8%, said CIVC.

Speaking to just-drinks today (4 March) CIVC spokesman, Daniel Lorson said: "There is something about the UK and Champagne. 30 years ago, its share's of global Champagne exports was 16%. Today, it is 26% and who would bet against growth continuing."

However, the strong euro last year hit Champagne's second export market, the US, with shipments down 6.2% to 21.7m.

"With the steady depreciation of the dollar, Champagne has just become too expensive for some US consumers but we are confident demand will pick up again when there's more currency parity," Lorson added. 

 In contrast, exports to Japan, despite the weakness of the yen, rose 14.4% to 9m bottles. "Japan remains a strong growth market and increasing prices are much less of a factor than in the US."

 Other highlights of 2007 include continued growth in exports to Russia which doubled between 2004 and 2007 while shipments to China last year increased 30%.