Hold the Bubbly: A Champagne Shortage Might Be Coming

Frost, rot, and mildew have made for one of the most difficult growing seasons in decades

Wikimedia Commons / Château de Bligny / CC BY-SA 2.0

Growers will have to “dig heavily in their reserves” to meet demand.

A difficult growing season has been disastrous for winemakers, and a Champagne shortage could be on the horizon.

This year has been “one of the lowest yielding Champagne seasons since the 1980s,” Decanter reported. A late frost hit the Côte des Bar region in France, the location of a quarter of the vineyards in Champagne. To top it all off, the Aube was later affected by hailstorms, and a mildew epidemic swept through Champagne.

Winemaker Jean Pierre Fleury said he lost 70 percent of his potential harvest because of this frost.

Olivier Horiot of Les Riceys estimates a yield of about 2,500 to 3,000 kilograms per hectare, well below the expected 10,700 kilograms per hectare predicted in July.

But not all hope is lost: Growers have personal reserves for times like this. However, Charles Philipponnat, general manager at Champagne Philipponnat, said they will “have to dig heavily in their reserves” in order to meet 2016 yields.


Check out our guide to opening a bottle of Champagne the right way.