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In terms of volume, Britain is still the biggest export market for champagne, with 31.1 million bottles shipped. ― AFP picIn terms of volume, Britain is still the biggest export market for champagne, with 31.1 million bottles shipped. ― AFP picPARIS, March 21 ― The French aren't the only ones with a taste for their country's finest of home-grown fizzes, it seems. In fact, champagne enjoyed another bumper year in 2016, with orders worth €4.71 billion (RM22.4 billion) worldwide.

In terms of volume, global champagne sales fell slightly in 2016, by 2.1 per cent, with the French wine-growing region's producers exporting 306,096,000 bottles. In comparison, sales in France fell 2.5 per cent to 157,737,000 bottles.

The 2016 figures confirm the enduring appeal of the French sparkling wine on a global scale. In terms of volume, the British are still the biggest consumers of champagne, with 31.1 million bottles shipped to the UK. However, the Brexit vote has affected the market, with a 14 per cent drop in export value and an 8.7 per cent drop in volume of sales. What's more, champagne faces tough competition from the Italian sparkling wine prosecco on the British market.

While the British take the top spot for champagne exports in terms of volume, the USA pips the UK to the post on export value, up 6.3 per cent to €540 million.

The new champagne drinkers

Other countries buoying the champagne market include New Zealand, with export volumes up 29.1 per cent to 648 million bottles, for a total value of €9.8 million (+25.4 per cent). Champagne is also proving increasingly popular in Russia, with 1.3 million bottles shipped for a value of €22.5 million, and in Mexico, with 1.5 million bottles shipped (+30.9 per cent) in 2016. Exports to South Africa (856,000) and South Korea (825,000) are also on the rise, with sales volumes up 21.9 per cent and 16.1 per cent respectively in 2016.

As champagne continues to gain popularity in more and more countries, the sector is also diversifying with new options and flavours. Rosé exports were up 8.5 per cent on 2015, for example, and prestigious vintages were up 4.6 per cent. ― AFP-Relaxnews

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