Price of champers is tumbling! Gezondheid!

The closure of bars and restaurants across Belgium and abroad is impacting on champagne sales.  Let’s be honest people do have less of an inclination to celebrate nowadays.  The Flemish daily Het Nieuwsblad reports that a third of this year’s champagne production now threatens not to get sold – some 100 million bottles.

In Flanders supermarket chains Colruyt, Lidl and Delhaize are already discounting the beverage over a month ahead of the festive season.  You can buy a bottle of champagne for less than ten euros. Usually such discounts are only organised much closer to Christmas.

Paul Vleminckx of the wine estate Chardonnay Meerdael in Oud-Heverlee (Flemish Brabant) confirms prices are tumbling: “Cellars are chock-a-bloc and space is needed for the 2020 vintage that will soon be bottled.”

At present it’s only the less renowned brands that are being discounted.  More prestigious names like Veuve-Clicquot and Laurent-Perrier are wary of the practice and prefer to stick on to their quality reputation, but they too reportedly are left with large stocks.

Paul Vleminckx concedes something will have to come off the price of his Chardonnay Meerdael sparkling wine “just to stay in the running”: “Still, we won’t be able to offer big discounts.  We try to match production to demand” he says.

Unfortunately stocking up on champers is not an option.  The wine isn’t made for long storage.  It can only be kept in the proper conditions in a wine cellar or wine fridge. 

“You can stock expensive and select champagnes” says Paul Vleminckx “but sparkling wine isn’t made for long storage.  It’s ready for drinking when the cork goes on the bottle.  You can tell by the cork, when it remains standing just like a mushroom it means the bottle has been stoppered for too long.  You get a different taste and care is needed.”

Our producer is hopeful: “The market seems to be stabilising.  When demand picks up, prices will rise.  Let’s hope we can all throw a big party next spring or next summer.”

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