Historic Decision to Expand the Champagne Region
by Lourdes Castro
You just got an increase in your champagne wishes. Last week the Institut National des Appellations d’Origine (INAO) – the organization that regulates France’s appellation system – voted unanimously to extend the champagne growing region.
A historic decision since this is the first time the area has been expanded since it was first delineated in 1927.
We are approaching a champagne shortage. While there has been a global increase in wine consumption as a whole, there are a few specific incidents that contribute to the decreased availability and increased cost of champagne.
The French remain the highest consumers of their bubbly with the Brits coming in second, but there has been a significant increase in the sale of champagne to emerging markets – Russia, China, and India. And this is creating a supply problem for the rest of us.
But that is not likely to happen as the grape growers have been using this hoarding practice as a way of securing their nest egg. Pensions are notoriously dismal for these farmers and so they have to take it upon themselves to secure their future.
Now that the region has been expanded what can we expect … The 38 newly included villages will have to adhere to strict regulations by the INAO and new vine plantings will have to take place. It is currently estimated that this will not be completed until 2015, which means we will not see extra champagne in the market place until 2020 at the earliest.
Its not instant bubbly gratification, but at least there is light at the end of the barrel.
Friday, March 21, 2008