Champagne Supplies OK Say French

Despite monthly claims to the contrary, French suppliers say shortage will be avoided

Despite months of claims by champagne suppliers of a pending champagne shortage for New Year's Eve, French suppliers are now saying there will be plenty of champagne for everyone.

The Interprofessional Committee of Champagne Wine (ICCW), which joins producers and buyers, has promised that there would be enough bubbles for all despite the increased demand according the Associated Press.

The French guard the name "Champagne" very closely, and sparkling wines made elsewhere are not allowed to wear the champagne label. The ICCW says its been preparing for New Year's Eve 1999 for four years and began producing for 15 to 20 million extra bottles of champagne to be on store shelves for this New Year's Eve.

The ICCW also believes the prices won't be as high as feared because buyers and producers struck a four-year deal in 1996 to control prices, but some increases are expected. Low-end champagne has been marked up recently from $8 to $11, considered its correct price, and minimal increases are expected on high-end champagne.

Still, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board Chairman is warning consumers of the potential shortage of some champagnes and sparkling wines this New Year's.

"The millennium has created worldwide demand for champagne and sparkling wines," said John E. Jones III in a press statement. "Some of our popular high-end champagnes are on allocation. What that means is that suppliers are telling us how much product is available to us. We have ordered as much as we can of those products, but we anticipate that, in some cases, demand will exceed our supply as the holidays near," Jones said.

The Pennsylvania liquor board is saying the potential exists for some popular mid-range products to be in short supply as New Year's approaches. The industry is predicting that demand for these products will be 15-20% higher than normal this holiday season.

DATE: 9/27/99

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