In the opening article for the 2019 Champagne Report, Patrick Schmitt MW looked at the issues facing Champagne as its 'biggest source of sales, France, is in decline.'
'With 2018's drop in Champagne shipments within France being 6.5 million bottles, it was enough to bring down the figure for the region in the past year to 301.9 million bottles - a decrease of 5.4 million bottles on 2017.
This also took the global figure to its lowest level for a decade.'
Unfortunately, as is often the case and as Schmitt is keen to highlight, such declines are out of the region's control. This year the cause of the decrease were the 'mass demonstrations across the country by the gilets jaunes.'
Schmitt spoke to Pascal Prudhomme, managing director of Champagne Castelnau about these issues.
"The French market has been very tough, and the end of last year was not good because of the demonstrations, which were every Saturday for a month and a half, meaning that sales in wine shops and restaurants were down," said Prudhomme of Castelnau.
To add to this he stated that "Bookings in December were down by 40% and in hotels by 35%, mostly in Paris, and there was no mood to drink Champagne." Prudhomme was also quoted in the feature findings as part of the overview piece on Champagne.
Later on in the piece Prudhomme was also quoted on the subject of Champagne and Brexit, he was given the looming and rather large question: 'So what about the impact of an impending Brexit?'
According to the piece, Prudhomme believes that 'the country's break with the EU will only seriously affect sales if it means the cost of Champagne in the UK goes up sharply, either because of increased tariffs, or exchange rates, or if demand tails off because the financial sector of the UK sees a major decline...'
"If the inflation is not so big for Champagne, and if the financial companies don't leave London, we could have no change regarding Brexit, although my concern is a devaluation of the pound versus euro," he said. "But for now, there are no consequences, and the best thing for me is to go on as before."
Instead Prudhomme put forward a different cause, "The problem for Champagne is that the sales of less expensive sparkling wines are rising every year, and that is a global problem."