Issue: November 15, 2010
The Champagne industry may see light at the end of the recession tunnel. Demand is increasing for Champagne in the United States. Imports from the region nearly doubled in the first two months of 2010, compared with January and February 2009.
Nonetheless, Champagne producers are proceeding with caution when it comes to the bubbly supply. The Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne (CIVC), the industry's regulatory body, set a maximum yield of 10,500 kilograms per hectare (4.7 tons per acre) for this year's harvest. "The growers wanted more," said Daniel Lorson, the CIVC's director of communications. "On the contrary, the houses and the [cooperatives] wanted a lower level, so this is a compromise." Last year the yields were limited to 9,700 kg/ha (4.33 tons/acre).
Despite the limit, the estimated crop level for the 2010 harvest is 14,000 kg/ha (6.2 tons/acre). Each producer is allowed to harvest excess grapes and set aside the wine for use in future years. But if they already have the maximum reserves, the grapes will be dropped in the vineyard.
• While still below their 2006 peak, Champagne exports to America are growing.
• Growers and producers agreed to limit yields again this vintage to keep supplies in check.
• Last year's limits helped stablize grape prices.
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