French champagne sales rebounded last year to a record €5.5bn (£4.6bn) as demand soared despite the lingering impact of Covid restrictions that weighed on restaurants and bars, producers have said.
About 322m bottles were sold in 2021, op 32% from the previous year, when shipments slumped 20% during Covid lockdowns worldwide, the Comité Champagne trade association said in its preliminary estimates.
The French market reported a 25% jump, with 142m bottles sold, a return to the pre-pandemic levels of 2019, while exports reached a record 180m bottles on strong demand from English-speaking countries in particular.
Restocking by restaurants accounted for part of the growth but the committee also said with tourism and many restaurants still suffering, more people were drinking champagne at home.
“Clients have decided to treat themselves at home and create new moments for conviviality and sharing, despite the morose atmosphere,” it said.
The surge in demand caught some houses by surprise, with stocks temporarily running out for some – Dom Perignon, Moët and Chandon – while Ruinart experienced shortages in Spain.
The sales boom came as champagne vineyards were hit with severe spring frosts followed by summer rains last year, which wreaked havoc on wine harvests in France.
But champagne producers traditionally keep millions of bottles locked in their cellars to ensure steady supplies from one year to the next.