Cheaper Sparkling Wine Replacing Champagne This New Year’s


The recession is forcing wannabe New Year’s revelers to replace Champagne with less-expensive sparkling wine. Which makes sense; it’s probably hard to toast to better days when you’re constantly reminded that you can’t really afford what you’re drinking.

NY Times: Fewer of those bottles of sparkling wine are likely to be Champagne this December. All over the United States, people are spending less for wine, and aiming for a lower-key expression of seasonal joy. That means less Champagne.

Partly, this is an economic decision. “People are clearly trading down,” said Jon Fredrikson of Gomberg, Fredrikson & Associates, a wine industry analyst in California. “People are still drinking wine, but it’s clearly at lower price points.”

But emotions and appearances play an important role in the decision as well. Aside from a general shortage of celebratory occasions like mergers, closings, bonuses and office parties, many restaurateurs say that customers are avoiding even the appearance of celebration…

After several strong years, Champagne sales in the United States began to slip in 2007 as the weak dollar caused prices to rise. About 21 million bottles were shipped to the United States in 2007, down 2 per cent from 2006, and the drop became precipitous in 2008. Through August, sales were down 17 per cent over the corresponding period last year, according to Sam Heitner, director of the Office of Champagne U.S.A., a trade organisation, and that doesn’t include the last three months of the year, when much of the Champagne is sold.

Wondering which sparkling wine to go with? For that, we suggest you turn to the experts at the Times.