Champagne represents more than One-Third of Sparkling Wine Market in Value Globally: Vincent Perrin, Director General, The Comite Champagne

BW Hotelier conversed with Vincent Perrin, Director General of The Comite Champagne to seek views about Champagne and its receipt world over at large and India in particular.

REPRESENTING THE interest of Independent Champagne Producers and Champagne Houses, The Comite Champagne – a trade association founded in 1941 is the first foreign Geographical Indicator (GI) to be registered in India about a decade ago. BW Hotelier conversed with Vincent Perrin, Director General of The Comite Champagne to seek views about Champagne and its receipt world over at large and India in particular.

Please tell us more about Champagne and its widespread predominance world over.

Vincent Perrin: Champagne only represents less than 10% of the sparkling wine market in volume but is dominant in terms of awareness and image, and represents more than a third of this market in terms of value. So, it really is an image predominance linked to the high-quality standard of Champagne and to two centuries of export around the world, reaching now 180 countries.

Being an age-old association for protecting the Champagne brand globally, what special duties and activities does The Comite Champagne undertake to protect the sanctity of Champagne?

VP: The Comité Champagne works diligently to preserve and protect the Champagne name as well as the names of wine regions around the world. When the location of wine true place of origin is misused, consumers are misled and the sanctity of all quality wine regions is undermined. As such, we began working proactively with other quality wine regions that are also concerned with their names being misused and want to eliminate consumer confusion.

Being the first Geographical Indication (G.I) to be registered in India, with over a decade passed, how do you see the growth of Champagne consumption in India?

VP: The volume growth of Champagne shipments to India over the last 10 years has reached an increase of 59% in volume, 63% in value; however, India has remained the 34th export market of Champagne despite this steady growth. The reason for this is the faster growth in markets which are already established for Champagne, such as the UK with 27.8 million bottles imported in 2017, the USA (23 million). There is, of course, a tremendous growth opportunity in the Indian market, however, despite the recognition of Champagne as a Geographical Indication, the level of import taxes keep Champagne as a very luxurious wine for most of the Indian wine drinkers.

What has been the per capita share of Champagne consumption in India if to be ranked against other countries?

VP: The per capita consumption of Champagne in India is extremely low due to the relatively small Champagne imports (less than 400 000 bottles in 2017, India is the 34th export market of Champagne) compared to the size of the population, especially if one compares with France (2-3 bottles per capita and per year) or Belgium (0-8 bottles) or Switzerland (0-7 bottles) which experience the highest levels of per capita Champagne consumption in the world. Most of the Indian wine drinkers still have to discover Champagne! And, Champagne drinkers in India are far from enjoying Champagne the way a lot of West-European countries do, more often, than just for special moments and celebrations but also on more informal and relaxed occasions… or even without another occasion than just the desire to enjoy Champagne!

What efforts at Comite are you taking to educate the global audience more about Champagne?

VP: When it comes to educating the largest possible audience on Champagne, the growers and houses of Champagne have decided to develop a web-based training platform for both trade and consumers, starting with the broad audience website which is meant to serve as an encyclopedia of Champagne. Champagne Campus (a website and a quiz mobile app on Android and iPhone) has been the second development, offering an entertaining approach to Champagne education and a knowledge assessment tool, the app, which can also be used as a game to challenge one’s peers on their own Champagne knowledge. Next year will see the development of new educational activities at a global level, with both an e-learning platform and partnerships with wine schools in selected countries and globally.

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