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Champagne is predicted to enjoy a major resurgence this Christmas

With Christmas less than a month away, supermarkets are already stacking their shelves high with festive fizz.

Despite sales of Prosecco soaring in recent years making it once the nation’s tipple of choice, this year Champagne reigns supreme as Britain’s favourite fizz.

In 2015, the Italian produced Prosecco overtook the popularity of Champagne in Britain and became the country’s most popular drink.

Over the last year, the popularity of Italian sparkling wine has dropped by 2.8 per cent, and experts at the event forecast that it will have fallen by six per cent by the end of the year [File photo]

Last year, it was estimated that 35.8 million gallons of Prosecco was sold in the UK – making us the country that consumes the most of the fizzy wine on the planet.

Italy exported 560 million bottles of prosecco last year, and Britain was the biggest consumer.

But at an event organised by Osservatorio Vinitaly and Nomisma Wine Monitor in Rome yesterday, Prosecco producers were sent into a frenzy as it was revealed the demand in Britain had dropped considerably.

Despite sales of Prosecco soaring in recent years making it once the nation¿s tipple of choice, this year Champagne reigns supreme as Britain¿s favourite fizz. In 2015, the Italian produced Prosecco overtook the popularity of Champagne in Britain [File photo]

Despite sales of Prosecco soaring in recent years making it once the nation’s tipple of choice, this year Champagne reigns supreme as Britain’s favourite fizz. In 2015, the Italian produced Prosecco overtook the popularity of Champagne in Britain [File photo]

Over the last year, the popularity of Italian sparkling wine has dropped by 2.8 per cent, and experts at the event forecast that it will have fallen by six per cent by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, they also forecast that the sales of Champagne in Britain would have grown by 34 per cent, making it the new drink of choice with our Christmas dinner.

Since 2017, Champagne sales have been slowly increasing again – though just by 0.3 per cent from 2017 – 2018.

Last year, France exported 26.8million bottles of bubbly to the UK, a figure which will only be buoyed by these predictions.

Leta Bester, who has been running wine-tasting masterclasses at the London Wine Academy for 25 years, said producers in Italy would be concerned.

‘From what I have heard from Rome and the conference today, they are worried in Italy about the decline of prosecco,’ she said.

‘It will be interesting to see what happens. We are all feeling a bit of a pinch because of Brexit.

‘It will be interesting to see what we will see next in terms of importing international wines after Brexit.’ 

Part of the increase in popularity of Champagne is down to changes in production in France.

Since 2017, Champagne sales have been slowly increasing again - though just by 0.3 per cent from 2017 - 2018

Since 2017, Champagne sales have been slowly increasing again – though just by 0.3 per cent from 2017 – 2018

Champagne has become less expensive, and therefore able to compete with its traditionally cheaper Italian counterpart.

Giovanni Mantovani, who organised the wine event, told an Italian newspaper: ‘France has lowered the price of Champagne in the UK by more than 25 per cent, something which is pretty unusual for French sparkling wine.’ 

But as well as France reducing the production costs, Miss Bester thinks it is also down to a natural fluctuation in the market and changes in consumer tastes.

‘I think it’s a natural occurrence, I do not think that prosecco has don’t anything wrong,’ she said.

‘I think it is more a case of what we saw with Sauvignon Blanc, and people are trying to expand their growing tastes and try something new.

‘With Champagne, there have been some good special offers on recently too, for example Waitrose had 25 per cent off Champagne.

But, she added, she would never deter anyone from buying Prosecco themselves, and in the long run this fluctuation may not have much of a dent on the Prosecco export market.

‘When we teach a master class we would never say do not have Prosecco or do not have champagne,’ she added.

‘It is all about the tastes – what you are eating, what time of day it is, and how much money you have – it is not one or the other.’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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