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FRANCE: Champagne body limits supply to drain discount fizz

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Champagne corks may be popping again but the region's trade council will again limit production as it attempts to regain price-points lost during the recession.

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The Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne (CIVC) has maintained a limit of 10,500kg of grapes per hectare for the 2010 harvest. The level was adopted last year amid falling demand for Champagne in key markets at the peak of the global economic downturn.

By limiting grape yields, the CIVC hopes to build on the sector's resurgent volume sales by helping Champagne houses return to higher price-points. An oversupply of Champagne, mixed with economic recession, led to fierce discounting in key markets in 2009 and the industry has struggled to recover lost ground on pricing.

The second largest Champagne house, Vranken-Pommery Monopole, this week backed the CIVC's limit on grape yields. It said that the measure "will enable the sector to stem the decline in price/mix and reposition Champagne towards value growth".

Restricting production, known legally as 'blocage', has been used intermittently by the Champagne industry since the 1930s.

Worldwide Champagne sales volumes rose by nearly 40% in the first half of 2010, according to CIVC figures. Daniel Lorson, a spokesperson for the body, told just-drinks last week that pricing has shown increasing stability.


Sectors: Wine

Companies: Vranken-Pommery Monopole

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