Prince Charles: Expert on 'royal warrant' for champagne
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The lack of Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) drivers keeps on hitting the UK with an upcoming shortage of champagne forecasted by wine professionals. Restaurants are currently experiencing a lack of delivery.
An establishment owner told The i delays were happening “across the board” and said he “wouldn’t be surprised” if stocks of some brands run dry by the end of the year.
On top of the haulier crisis, the production itself in the Champagne region in France faced challenges over the year that impacted recent harvests.
Andrew Hawes, chairman of the UK Champagne Agents Association and managing director of Bollinger importer Mentzendorff, said the lack of HGV drivers is only one of the reasons behind the shortage.
“Some champagne houses are experiencing difficulties in supplying the continued high levels of consumer demand in the UK market,” he told i.
“Production of champagne is finite because it only comes from one region, and recent harvests have been lower in quantity than average.
“Additionally, other major markets now recovering from Covid have placed significant demands on stocks.”
Recent heatwaves and frosts have damaged crops which will result in a shortage of champagne, wines, beers and spirits.
In September, the Comité Champagne has said Champagne expects to lose almost 30 percent of yield due to frost, with an additional 25 to 30 percent lost to mildew.
However, because Champagne has large amounts of wine in stock, the Comité disagrees with Mr Hawes and claims that this year’s low harvest will not directly impact supply.
“The people of Champagne are accustomed to working in difficult conditions,” said Jean-Marie Barillère, Co-President of the Comité Champagne, in a statement.
“They take pride in dealing with each year’s conditions to produce the great wine that is Champagne.”
The upcoming festive drink shortage could be a springboard for Rishi Sunak’s plan to push British-made sparkling wine.
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Miles Beale, CEO of the Wine & Spirit Trade Association, does not back up the project as he claims English sparkling wine still makes up less than one per cent of the market.
“Giving home-grown products more favourable taxation – or ‘drinks nationalism’ – would send a terrible signal to other countries and be counter-productive,” he wrote in a blog.
“It would encourage retaliation in key export markets for English sparkling wines, gin and Scotch whisky – which would damage both current and future growth.”
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