Supermarket bargains a 'parasite' on Champagne image

Champagne industry calls for an end to supermarket dealsPic: AFP/Getty

Discounted wines and cheap supermarket deals made sparkling wine accessible to millions of Brits at Christmas, but those slashed prices have got tempers amongst Champagne producers bubbling over.

According to the Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne (CIVC), trade association that represents the Champagne houses and producers, cut-price supermarket deals are a 'parasite' on the image of champers, and makers want to put a stop to bargain basement bubbly.

Talking to Off Licence News magazine, CIVC communications director Thibaut Le Mailloux said: "It's just a marketing ploy. It puts in the head of the consumer that Champagne can be made at that price.

"It's at the expense of Champagne. It's a parasite on the image of Champagne." He added: "They are shooting themselves in the foot by downgrading the category and making consumers expect a price where producers and retailers can't make a margin that's sustainable."

Last Christmas supermarket giants Asda and Tesco sold exclusive label Champagne at less than half price, while branded labels were also slashed.

And cheaper alternatives such as prosecco and cava continue to gather strength as Champagne sales suffer.

But Andrew Hawes, managing director of Mentzendorff, which supplies Bollinger, suggested it was up to the CIVC to promote their quality brands better.

Mr Hawes told the publication: "The Champagne industry needs to do more. Is there enough information about what makes it special?

"English wines have been very articulate and no one should be critical of that. It throws the challenge down to Champagne to do more to explain itself. Brands are doing their part, but it's about the controlling associations. There is a need to be more proactive, rather than a reactive approach."

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