In 2011, for the fourth time in history, more bottles of cava were exported than of champagne, which confirms the trend for the Spanish sparkling wine to leave behind the International crisis due to its competitive price-quality relationship.

In the last year, almost 11 million more bottles of cava than champagne were sold in the International market. Specifically, cava producers managed, in 2011, to sell 152.22 million bottles abroad, a figure that had never before been reached and which means a 2% rise in exportations. At the same time, French champagne makers managed to export 141.32 million bottles, which meant a rise of 5.18%.


The attraction of cava in France
The regression experienced by champagne in Spain contrasts with the rise of cava in France, where 8.28% more bottles of the popular Spanish sparkling wine were sold last year. Over the last five years, sales of cava in France have practically doubled, with a total of 4.22 million bottles last year. With these figures, France has become the sixth main foreign market for cava.

Even though cava is exported more than champagne, the French sparkling wine has a much larger overall production than cava owing to the large domestic consumption in France. Thus, in 2011 a total of 322.98 million bottles of champagne were produced, with a growth of 1%. On the other hand, the overall sales of cava dropped 2.14% last year, to 239.55 million units.

Both products experienced a decrease in their home markets. Thus, champagne fell 1.88% in France (181.64 million bottles) and cava dropped 8.71% in Spain (87.3 million bottles). It is highly significant to see how the French consume 94 million more of their home produced sparkling wine than the Spanish do of theirs.


Main markets
Abroad, champagne and cava compete in practically the same markets. For champagne its main income is from the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany, Belgium and Japan. For cava, its large sales centres are Germany, the United Kingdom, Belgium, the United States and Japan. Cava last year underwent large growth in Belgium (+10%), Holland (16%) and Finland (11%). Meanwhile, champagne triumphed in the United States (up 14%), Germany (8.5%) and Australia (32%).

It is worth remembering that cava and champagne follow an identical system of production, known as the traditional champenoise method, based on the fact that the wine undergoes a second process of fermentation in the bottle. However, the grapes that are used and the climate in which they grow are different, which makes them products each with their own personality. Freixenet and Codorníu are the main makers of cava, whereas the large maker of champagne is the multinational Louis Vuitton Moët Henessy (LVMH), owner of Moët, Veuve Clicquot, Mercier, Krug, Ruinart and Dom Pérignon.

Source: Expansión


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