Bunhill: Pop goes cheap cork

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The Independent Online
BUY now while stocks last. The old cliche is true this weekend for champagne, if for no other imported goodie. This is due not only to the devaluation of the pound against the franc, but, more importantly, to the steps champagne producers have just taken to tighten up their quality controls.

From now on, producers will be subject to much more severe limitations on the weight of grapes they can pick from a given acreage and the amount of juice they can extract from a kilo of grapes. And in the future they are going to have to increase the minimum period for which the wine is matured.

In practice, there are still enough of the old-style cheap champagnes in the pipeline to ensure a steady supply for some months. But by Christmas 1993 consumers' stomachs will no longer be racked by the sheer acidity of today's cheaper brands. However, prices will be higher.