Focus on Champagne in USA with Jennifer Hall Director of the Champagne Bureau, USA. The future of Champagne in USA is bright. Again, we are still waiting on the shipment figures for 2017, but Champagne shipments grew by 6.3 percent from 2015 to 2016 to reach more than 21 million bottles.
by Antonella Iozzo
Jennifer Hall is the director of The Champagne Bureau USA, located in Washington, DC. The Champagne Bureau is the U.S. representative of the Comité Champagne, the trade association that represents all the grape growers and houses of Champagne, France. We meet Jennifer Hall for a focus on Champagne in the USA.
Jennifer, can you tell us more about the position of Champagne in USA?
The U.S. is an important market for Champagne, and we expect that shipments for Champagne in 2017 will continue to illustrate this. While we are still waiting on the final shipment figures for 2017, Champagne shipments to the US grew by 6.3 percent from 2015 to reach more than 21 million bottles in 2016. This marks the fourth consecutive year of growth in Champagne shipments to the United States. Additionally, the U.S. remains the top export market in terms of value for Champagne for second year, which increased 4.9 percent.
What is the most important aspect of this success?
First, we are seeing a trend among three important demographics that are drinking more wine generally. Baby Boomers over 65 have more money and more time then generations before them and are making wine part of their daily lives. At the same time, Millennials older than 21 but younger than 35 are also consuming more wine and want to show they are drinking something unique. Millennials are more adventurous when it comes to their wines with 65% seeking out rare and unusual wines and vintages and 75% wishing they could spend more on wine, according to a recent Forbes article.
Lastly, Gen X, ages 35-50, will be an important age group to the fine wine market over the coming years. As their careers, and incomes grow, it is Generation X who will be taking over from the Baby Boomer generation as the dominant fine-wine consuming demographic. In fact, a recent survey from Wine Access found that those from Gen X are the most likely to spend $70 on a bottle of wine more than once a month, the most engaged wine club customers and are growing their wine cellars. Champagne is a great wine for these groups because it follows that line of coming from a special place and having unique characteristics.
Second, we are seeing a trend in how Champagne is consumed. Again, it is no longer just for celebrations. More and more Champagne is being consumed throughout the meal and for everyday occassions.
How do you see Champagne’s future in USA?
The future of Champagne in USA is bright. Again, we are still waiting on the shipment figures for 2017, but Champagne shipments grew by 6.3 percent from 2015 to 2016 to reach more than 21 million bottles. This marks the fourth consecutive year of growth in Champagne shipments to the United States. Additionally, the U.S. remains the top export market in terms of value for Champagne for the second year.
Jennifer, what trends have you seen amongst USA customer base, and have they changed at all?
irst, Champagne, in particular, has seen growth in the U.S. market due in part to the fact that more American consumers are enjoying it beyond the traditional celebratory events – weddings, graduations, etc. This has become a new consumer trends as Americans are choosing to open a bottle for a wide range of occasions. When a bottle of Champagne is opened, the occasion – even if it is simply a dinner with friends – instantly becomes special.
Additionally, consumers are starting to buy Champagne more as they realize that it pairs well with a wide variety of foods. As Americans are drinking more wine, they are experimenting more with pairing combinations. They are learning that Champagne is no longer just a wine you have before the meal but also a wine you can have throughout the meal.
Finally, Champagne is no longer being consumed in just flutes, which is making the wine even more accessible. More people are drinking Champagne out of white wine or tulip glasses. The wider openings of these glasses allow for the aromas to open more while still showing the bubbles and effervescence of the Champagne.
Do you feel you have a responsibility towards Champagne and the Champagne Region?
As the U.S. representative of the Comité Champagne, the trade association that represents all the grape growers and houses of Champagne, France, the Champagne Bureau works to educate US consumers about the uniqueness of the wines of Champagne and expand their understanding of the importance location plays in the creation of all wines. We are intently focused on ensuring Champagne is properly protected in the United States, as it is in most of the rest of the world.
The Bureau is committed to the protection of the Champagne name and the Champagne region. Champagne name is protected in more than 110 countries around the world, but the U.S. still allows for the misuse of the name.
The Bureau is an advocate to the U.S. government for stronger protection of the Champagne name in the United States. We also advocate for all mislabeling of U.S. sparkling wine to be permanently banned in the United States. Finally, we work with other quality wine regions in the U.S. and around the world to ensure that wine place names are protected in all manners, so consumers can have the confidence that the wine label will accurately show them where their wine comes from.
What does Champagne represent for you, Jennifer?
Champagne is the drink of celebration and has also evolved to become a perfect drink for everyday consumption, whether you are at a cocktail party or at a dinner with a friend. But Champagne is more than merely a type of wine. It is a unique region with a long history of winemaking expertise. We are always informing people that while there are great sparkling wines from all around the world, Champagne only comes from Champagne, France.
di Antonella Iozzo ©Riproduzione riservata
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