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UK: uvine.com's chairman blasts Champagne "cartels"

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The global wine market is bracing itself for sweeping price reforms after it was announced today that national Champagne "cartels" had been "smashed" by the international wine stock exchange, uvine.com.

While huge price inequality between individual nations has traditionally been sustained through the machinations of marketing chiefs, the stock exchange has opened the way for price equilibration.

Although France and the Low Countries of Europe command the world's cheapest Champagne prices, steep inflation in neighbouring states and beyond have often been unjustified.

On the uvine.com market floor, Grande Marque Champagnes have been changing hands at half the price buyers would pay in their native countries, just-drinks.com can reveal.

While non-vintage Veuve Clicquot is priced on US liquor store shelves at around the $30 price point, from uvine.com's virtual shop shelf the same bubbly has been bought for just over $18.

While in Britain online merchants are selling the same bottle of Veuve Clicquot for £27.52, the uvine.com price is over 50% cheaper at just £12.50.

For Australian customers too, the domestic average of A$65 looks set to be dramatically undercut as the same Veuve Clicquot floods onto the Uvine market at a little over A$41.

And at the top end of the scale value for money at last seems in reach for many more buyers; 100 case parcels of Dom Perignon 1990 are working out on the site at about £50 per bottle.

Krug is available at £41.60 through uvine.com - a far cry from UK high street prices while at the same time making the US $105 price per bottle look over-priced by 30%.

Uvine.com Chairman Christopher Burr told just-drinks.com that the level playing field provided by the site would bring an end to Champagne "cartels" and "sheer profiteering".

Commenting on the UK practice of hopping over the Channel looking for bargains, Burr added: "The number of people who go abroad to buy their Champagne is evidence of the crazy situation.

"Champagne shippers have always argued that there are duty differences and shipping costs that make Champagne more expensive abroad - but not 25% more expensive, that can't be right."

Burr continued to say that in most instances, Champagne is cheaper in France but there is one exception - Champagne Ruinart - which retails for more on the continent where the wine's value has been artificially boosted by marketing.

"It sounds preposterous but I might start selling Ruinart back to the French at a profit!" Burr said.


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