Champagne’s Drought Dilemma Deepens

By: Kaydee Ambas · August 09, 2023 · Reading Time: 2 minutes

Popping Champagne Sales

The Champagne wine region of France marked an impressive shipment of over 325 million bottles of its world-famous sparkling wine in 2022, ringing in sales upwards of 6.3 billion euros. That’s equivalent to a cool $6.9 billion.

Per these insights from Comité Champagne, the region’s trusted trade association, the bubbly business has never looked better. But look a little closer and you might find the fizz is starting to fizzle.

Fizz or Fizzle?

Despite the bottles flying off the shelves, a sobering report from S&P Global (SPGI) Sustainable1 added a bitter note to the region’s sweet success.

The study predicts that, by the middle of the century, the Champagne region will see its exposure to drought risks nearly triple. By 2090, the risk is expected to be five times current levels.

The problem isn’t limited to droughts. Extreme weather events — including the unholy trinity of fires, floods, and frosts — have been crashing the party more often in recent years.

A New Taste to Toast

For enthusiasts, that’s a bitter pill to swallow — but the taste of champagne is only getting sweeter. Due to the increasing intensity of sunshine in the region, some bottles are showcasing riper characteristics. In some cases, the changing temperatures leave champagne so naturally sweet that no added sugar is needed.

Any change poses a risk to a region as indebted to tradition as Champagne. Nevertheless, some houses are scouting locations with climates akin to Champagne, in addition to experimenting with new grape varieties as the industry explores promising ways to stir the age-old rulebook.

The rise of extreme weather is nothing to be celebrated. While the change raises concerns about the cherished drink’s future, it also presents an opportunity: a chance to innovate, reinvent, and ensure the longevity of the industry.

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