Bye-bye, Bolly

Champagne has lost its fizz for Britons thirsty for cut-price cava or prosecco

Say goodbye to Bollinger: Britain's partygoers are getting a lot more bubbles for their bucks. As spending adjusts to more cost-conscious times, champagne sales are – at best – going flat, while exports of sparkling alternatives such as cava and prosecco are rocketing.

New figures show imports of the budget bubbles from Spain and Italy increased by 37 per cent in the first nine months of 2008 while champagne imports slumped by 4.8 per cent. And figures from market research company AC Nielsen show sales of champagne in supermarkets and off-licences in the 12 months to February 2009 dropped 8 per cent, to £307m. Sparkling wine sales were markedly up and are now only £13m behind, at £294m.

Richard Siddle, editor of Harpers Wines and Spirits, said: "Prosecco and cava are on the up because people are getting wise to the quality and range you can get for less than £10." And Richard Ehrlich, a wine writer, said the recession was driving people into the arms of Spain's famous export. "Cava is the only place bubble-seekers have to run if they want the fizz but are feeling the pinch," he said.

But value for money is not the whole story. Industry insiders think the drink is easier to enjoy and has fewer side effects than champagne. Graham Fortune, UK managing director of the cava brand Freixenet, said the tipple accounts for 55 per cent of all sparkling wine sold in Britain, excluding champagne. "It is an affordable luxury," he said. "It's very easy to drink, doesn't leave you with a dry mouth like champagne and its low acidity means you are unlikely to get a headache from drinking it." Even restaurants are realising that customers are in no mood to splash out on a celebratory drink: one of the trade's main suppliers has seen sales of prosecco and cava climb by more than 35 per cent since last year.

But Andrew Hawes, managing director of Bollinger in the UK and chair of the UK Champagne Agents Association, said the drop in sales, is a temporary blip. "The British have a deep love affair with champagne, and if the past is any way of predicting the future, when things get better, the market will bounce back."

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Recruitment Genius: Membership Sales Advisor - OTE £20,000 Uncapped

    £15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness cha...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Manager / Marketing Communications Manager

    £35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...

    Guru Careers: Membership Administrator

    £23K: Guru Careers: We're seeking an experienced Membership Administrator, to ...

    Guru Careers: Dining Room Head Chef

    £32K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Dining Room Head Chef to work for one of ...

    Day In a Page

    Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

    The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

    How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
    Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

    Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

    'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
    Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

    Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

    How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
    Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

    Art attack

    Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
    Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

    Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

    Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
    Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

    'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

    Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
    10 best wedding gift ideas

    It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

    Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
    Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

    Paul Scholes column

    With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
    Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

    Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

    Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
    Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

    Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

    The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
    Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

    Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

    For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
    Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

    Fifa corruption arrests

    All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
    Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

    The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

    In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
    How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

    How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

    Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
    Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

    How Stephen Mangan got his range

    Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor