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A professional occasion

This was an occasion to recall the economic weight of the Champagne Houses within the industry, together with their determination to consolidate Champagne’s cross-industry management policy. Known in Champagne as the modèle interprofessionnel, it is this policy that gives the marketing side of Champagne the conditions it needs to build value for the appellation as a whole.

In 2012, despite the difficult economic climate, Champagne Houses achieved a turnover of 2.93 billion euros, of which exports accounted for 1.88 billion (5% percent up on 2011) shipped to 200 markets. For the first time in years, exports to non-EU countries (up 11% on 2011) exceeded those to EU Member States (down 0.7% compared with 2011).

The turnover of UMC member Houses represented 67% of Champagne’s total turnover, 84% of total exports and a full 88% of total exports to non-EU markets. A more positive product mix (a rise in sales of prestige cuvées) and country mix (an increase in international trade), combined with favourable exchange rates (especially dollar and yen), contributed to a rise in the average bottle price (ex-cellars before tax) of 4.6% compared with 2011.

These pleasing results testify to the dynamism and solid expertise of the Houses and their teams in the areas of winemaking and sales alike. Credit is also owed to the Champagne "legend": the image that our historic, world-class Houses, often regarded as the "engines" of the appellation, have done so much to create across the past three centuries. Owed to history and to reputation, it is a legend that flows from the appellation itself, endowed with that dreamlike element that only time can bestow.

These values must be maintained and reinforced by substantial investment in the tangible aspects of the product (its qualitative excellence) and its intangible aspects (the dreamlike element). Investment requires money but also a climate of confidence so that the industry may retain its attractiveness. And for that you need confidence in your product and in its ability to meet customer expectations. Confidence also in the stability of the collective framework supporting the appellation, because grape production, in terms of quality and quantity alike, is by nature risky. With help from the Government, that confidence has steadily built up in Champagne thanks to the creation of an original and effective cross-industry (interprofessionnel) model that involves Champagne Growers and Houses in the joint management of the appellation.

One aspect of co-management concerns the definition of methods of production and the economic regulation of the appellation. All decisions in this respect must continue to be taken on a cross-industry basis. The savoir-faire of the Champagne Houses, their understanding of the markets and their responsiveness to customer expectations represent an asset that must be placed at the service of the appellation. Markets and their evolution in the medium and long-term should be the starting point for all deliberations.

The confidence inspired by Champagne’s cross-industry management model is the key to attracting the investment needed to reinforce the "legend" of Champagne. Building future value and sharing it out among all stakeholders absolutely depend on it.

The co-management of the appellation by the Champagne Growers and Houses must be guaranteed by the French Government and the European Union. This guarantee is worth more than any amount of subsidy ... and it costs the taxpayer precisely nothing. It is the conservation and continual improvement of our modèle interprofessionel that will enable Champagne’s two families of professionals, the Champagne Growers and the Champagne Houses, to bequeath an even finer and more prosperous Champagne to future generations. This is also what is meant by sustainable development, one of its dimensions after all, albeit one too easily overshadowed by more pressing environmental concerns, being economic performance.