By Andy Young
For the first time in seven years imports of Champagne into Australia fell in 2016, but it was still the country’s second-biggest year for Champagne imports, according to an announcement made by the Comité Champagne at Prowein in Germany overnight.
Overall 7.4m bottles of Champagne came into Australia last year, slightly down on the record 8.1m in 2015. However, the overall trend for Champagne imports has increased over the last few years, up from 2.93m bottles in 2009, to the 7.1m of last year.
Wine writer and host of the Taste Champagne events, Tyson Stelzer, said the Australian love affair with Champagne was still continuing.
“Australia’s 2016 champagne sales could hardly be considered as a decline,” Stelzer said. “An exceptional sales record in 2015 was an anomaly, and 2016 figures perfectly fit Australia’s buoyant growth curve, popping an average of 600,000 more bottles every year since 2009.”
The number of imports sees Australia as the seventh largest Champagne market and the fifth largest per head of population.
Globally the diversification of cuvées continued in 2016, with more bottles of rosé shipped than in the previous year and prestige cuvées recording a 4.6 per cent increase. However Australia missed this trend toward increased value in 2016, maintaining the same average bottle price as 2015, 7 per cent lower than the average over the past 15 years.
“Of Champagne’s top 10 markets, Australia ranks lowest in proportion of rosé consumed, lowest in grower champagne and second-lowest in prestige champagne,” Stelzer added. “Our per bottle spend remains one of the lowest in the world.”