Champagne sales in the first half of this year have registered a slight lift, according to recent figures.

Trade body Union des Maisons de Champagne (UMC) said today (4 October) that sales of Champagne rose by 5% in the first six months of 2007 to 122.5m bottles.

"2006, was an excellent year, even though it fell short of the sales record set in 1999, and 2007 is looking very good too," the UMC's new director, David Chatillon, told just-drinks today. "World demand remains extremely strong and this points to favourable market conditions in the second half of the year for the Champagne houses and their leading brands."

Commenting on the 2007 harvest, Chatillon said that bad weather at the end of August had raised serious fears of a poor crop. However, these were dispelled as ideal climatic conditions set in, characterised by an absence of rainfall, cool temperatures, particularly at night and an easterly wind.

"The crop turned out to be of very good quality with an excellent balance between sugar and acidity and very satisfactory in terms of quanity. It should yield a total of 400m bottles, all sources included. This compares with 2006 shipments totalling 321m, providing scope for the houses to improve their stock levels."