Champagne sales fell by 6.2% for the first 11 months of 2008, according to the latest figures from trade body the Comité Interprofessionnel des Vins de Champagne (CIVC).

Sales fell by 7.2% and 6% to EU and non-EU countries respectively, while French sales - accounting for 50% of the global market - dipped by 5.6%, the CIVC said this week. Total sales reached 276.9m bottles.

January-October volumes fell by 4.9%, indicating a steeper decline in November as the global economic downturn weakened demand.

CIVC spokesperson Daniel Lorson told just-drinks today (20 January): "Despite the fact that we're set to finish the year in negative territory - for the first time in almost 15 - 2008 will probably go down as a very good year for Champagne and could in fact represent the third-best year ever, in terms of volumes and revenues, behind 1999 and 2007." 

He said December figures, which can account for 50m bottles, will not be known until mid-February. "Based on first indications, these are likely to show that the decline in sales volumes for the year did not deepen."