Not So Grape: Champagne Price Pain on Way?

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Talk about putting a cork in it: The recession is changing the price of Champagne because supply is about to dip down significantly, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Champagne producers in Champagne, France (the only place in the world that can use that name for their sparkling wine) are looking to cut production by one third this harvest, which will mean 44% fewer bottles of cham-poo produced this year, the Journal reports.

Ultimately, the Champagne industry hopes to keep the per-bottle price higher by restricting the supply. The move makes sense (and cents) for the bottlers: Sales dipped to 260 million bottles this year; two years ago 339 million bottles were sold.

What it Means to You
The last time major Champagne supply and demand swings moved market prices was New Years 2000, according to Wayne Belding, a master sommelier with Boulder Wine Merchant in Boulder, Colo.

Anticipation of heavy millennial partying that did not materialize ("people were afraid that elevators would stop and planes would fall out of the sky") left over-stocked distributors with "a year's worth of Champagne" the morning after. Cost cutting to reduce inventory ensued.

Probably not this time around. "I am hoping to see some deals," says Belding, who notes that now Champagne producers are being more careful with supply.

Ways to Celebrate for Less
So what are some ways to toast for less in the meantime? Belding recommends looking into domestic fizzy wines or a nice Prosecco, which is an Italian sparkling wine whose price can be as low as $10 a bottle.

How will you celebrate big events if Champagne's prices prove to be too bubbly for your budget?

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