The body that represents Champagne producers in the UK has played down fears of a shortage after claims by LVMH chief executive Bernard Arnault that it was seeing shortages on prestige cuvées.?Arnault told industry analysts that the pace of recovery in the Champagne market in 2010 had left the Moët owner short of stocks.?Revealing a 19% increase in sales and 22% in like-for-like profits in the company’s wines and spirits division, Arnault said the recovery represented a transformation from 2009, when the industry found itself with excess stock as retailers ran down inventories in international markets.?“Some other companies were dumping their stock but we decided to buy more,” Arnault said. “But we didn’t buy enough and now with the recovery and resumption of the market, we have found ourselves short.”?The company said that all its Champagne brands experienced a “strong recovery” in 2010, especially prestige cuvées Dom Perignon and Krug.?Françoise Peretti, director of the Champagne Information Bureau in London, reassured retailers about availability.?“Individual brand results can be very
different to the generic industry situation,” she said.?“There are 1.17 billion bottles in the region’s cellars and about 225 million
bottles in reserve, which is about 3.6 years of stock based on current global sales – and three years is normally considered very healthy.?“We don’t anticipate Champagne stocks running dry in the UK.”?She said the region’s generic body, the CIVC, was “cautiously optimistic” for 2011 sales.?“We expect the final shipment figures for 2010 to be very close to 2008,” Peretti added.?l Champagne’s annual UK tasting takes place on Tuesday, March 15, from 10am to 5pm, at the Banqueting House in Whitehall, London. The event is organised by the CIVC and will have 83 brands displaying a total of 248 wines. The event is open to producers with a UK agent and focuses on non-vintage and vintage styles.