champagne in canada


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a query for our canadian friends.

been looking over international sales figures and was very surprised re exports to canada. while our sealbasher friends (yes, it is a term of endearment) are the 10th largest export market for champagne (so not too shabby), i was surprised it was not higher, on a per capita basis.

i'm curious as to why champagne is so much more popular here than in canada.

you guys bring in around 47 mill euros worth annually with a population of around 37 mill. in comparison, we bring in around 118 mill euros worth with a population of 24 mill. it is a massive difference. i'm sure i could find other countries with even bigger differences but i always think of the people of canada and australia as being similar in so many ways. and yet, we import almost four times he worth of champagne as does canada?

one could argue a domestic industry but i'd be willing to bet a lot of champagne that we actually make far more sparkling wine, especially quality sparkling, than does canada.

do canadians just not like champagne or do they drink US fizz or imports from italy?

anyone have any thoughts?

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... but i always think of the people of canada and australia as being similar in so many ways.

Apart from the seal bashing, haha.... you really expect an answer after such a charming endearment, Ken?...flower.gifwink2.gif

But seriously, I'd wonder the same, in particular seeing the huge population share of French-speaking Canucks. Or is it perhaps the reason?

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I couldn't believe that Australia is such a big export market for champagne, but this link shows that it's the sixth biggest market in the world, even ahead of Italy and Switzerland!

This article from last year states that Canada is the sixth largest export market for wine. So maybe Canadians prefer wine to champagne?

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@Ken Gargett

If you're talking Champagne as the overall "bubbly" category, then I'd say we consume quite a lot. Prosecco and Cava sell very well here and dominate "Champagne" for shelf space. BUT. Champagne pricing here is stupid high. Most French swill gets marked up very high in my provincial liquor monopoly store aka LCBO. Stuff that sells in Paris for 4Euro/bottle gets a $30CAD price tag here.

Cava and Prosecco account for a lot more shelf space. A decent Cava sells from $12 - $15 and Prosecco from $14 - $20+ per bottle. True Champagne, and I don't count the other French offerings like Cremant, have a starting tag of around $40/bottle.

There isn't a huge Champagne offering other than the most well known houses, Veuve, Mumm, Pol Roget and some Dom now and then for the well heeled.

Sadly, Sparking Shiraz never caught on here. (Great stuff. if you see it, try it!) I talk to the liquor mongers at the LCBO and they're at a loss to explain the lack of enthusiasm over the product. Their tasters thought it would do well but apparently sales were very flat and it was discontinued. The only plus being that they cleared out the bottles of Katnook at a $3/bottle discount. I didn't get as much as I hoped for, but they were great while they lasted. biggrin.png

I'll add another thought to why Canadian vs Aussie Champagne sales differ. And that's climate. Reds sell all year long here, but white, rose' and bubbly are considered Summer drinks and are promoted/stocked as such. Other than the Xmas and New Years stock bumps, Champagne and whites in general see greater sales in the warm months.

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It's way too fuk¥ng COLD for champagne here!!!

The baby bottles of Moët sell like hotcakes to the selfie taking 30something female crowds at $20/pop in the clubs.

I prefer gin & grapefruit over a mimosa as my breakfast drink

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Guest photorob

Bit of food for thought:

Firstly, taxes. Just to give an example, in Ontario a bottle of entry level Veuve Cliquot, Moet, Perrier Joet, Baron de Rothschild, Tatinger etc are all in the neighbourhood of $70 and up.

Secondly, and maybe more importantly, as a nation we adore our beer an whisky.

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I'm surprised Rye didn't mention Rye. Whiskey, that is. Very popular, made in Canada, and just received a top world award.

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I think it's mainly price, to echo those above. When the standards are reaching above $75CAD (and are kept in fancy glass cases in some instances, almost as if to reinforce the "premiumness" of certain bubblies that would be on the grocery store shelf in France)..... it's not going to help sales that much.

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Let me give you a bit of insights from the French side of Canada. Our liquor is Government controlled and they decide on the prices according to their markup formula for each type of liquor and their provenance. A friend started one of the famous local vodka and sells to SAQ at 11$/bottle and they place it on their shelves at 42$. There is a movement towards bubbles that has been brewing for the last 5 years, especially in Montréal, with the arrival of specialized bars, restaurants and events. It is still very seasonal but more and more people are enjoying them on a regular.

Frank mentioned the large amount of alternatives we have here from Spain, Italy and also from France. That is especially true in Québec. Those are very good alternatives and they are well priced. It is hard to beat a high end/millésimé champagne but when we are talking about volume those alternatives will always win here in Québec as it is a price sensitive market. Prices are high especially when compared to Non Champagne wines. Here are a few example (CAD is +/- 1 or 2 more in AUD):

Billecart Rosé - 99 CAD

Veuve Clicquot - 69 CAD

Fleury Brut - 53.25 CAD

--
Bellavista Alma Cuvée Brut - 40 CAD
Bailly Lapierre Vive-la-Joie 2008 - 29.75 CAD
Raventos I Blanc de la Finca 2011 - 31.25CAD
So for 30$ one can buy 2 crémants de bourgogne millésimé bottles for the price of a generic Moet bottle? For most sparkling aficionados, the decision is easy. The extra coin for Champagne is hard to justify. That being said, SAQ have been taking heat for overcharging on these products (they are the world's second leading buyer, distributor and retailers of wine and spirits) and are in the process of importing an array of sub 50$ champagne in 2106. So far that has only produced lower quality champagne instead of better quality options at lower prices.
Personally, I have been drinking them for a long time and I only really buy champagne outside of the country where prices are more realistic.
Also, Shlomo, I drank 3 sparkling wines this weekend nyah.gif
post-8384-0-04195900-1461702453_thumb.jp
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Maybe the Canucks aren't as insecure about being regarded as unsophisticated...

(Joke! It's a joke, I've had a long day alright?)

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Perhaps adding to the perceived skewness is the rapid rise in sales within Australia, with a doubling of volume and value within 2010-2015. The link John provided gives some good stats insight:

Champ_1415.BMP

Champ_Australia_.BMP

So the question may likewise be - what's happening in Australia that makes Champagne go so strong? (while still in Canada there was a appr 25% growth in the same period, stagnation within Europe)

Edit: Textual additon from the bulletin:

For the sixth year in a row, exports have reached new heights in volume, at 8.1 million bottles in 2015. With an increase of 1.6 million bottles, growth has been particularly clear in volume (+24.3%), a large increase on average levels over the past decade (+13.4%).
In value, the previous record of 116.6 million euros has been broken, although the increase is slightly lower (+11.2). Sparkling wine consumption in Australia is continuing to flourish, and Champagne maintains its position as the second largest market segment, which indicates that Australians not only have a certain purchasing power, but also that they are conscious consumers. The range is occupied by over 90% non-vintage Brut Champagne, with the Houses taking more or less equal positions, providing opportunities to develop Champagne diversity.

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Maybe my little experience, from yesterday, can shed a some light.

I went through the drive through bottle shop at Coomera, near Dreamworld, on route to Mount Tamborine yesterday, as my wife was losing her mind that we forgot to pack some champagne. (Was actually sitting in the little drink esky in the garage when we got back)

So I pulled up and queried what cold champagne they had. The guy was Kiwi, and had no idea. So I jumped out and grabbed an overpriced Bollinger.

Went to pay and the Kiwi guy goes "oooh celebrating?" And I said "no mate, we're going for a picnic!"

Aussie's use champagne as a legitimate for every occasion. Whereas a lot of other people use it to celebrate.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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@Ken Gargett

If you're talking Champagne as the overall "bubbly" category, then I'd say we consume quite a lot. Prosecco and Cava sell very well here and dominate "Champagne" for shelf space. BUT. Champagne pricing here is stupid high. Most French swill gets marked up very high in my provincial liquor monopoly store aka LCBO. Stuff that sells in Paris for 4Euro/bottle gets a $30CAD price tag here.

Cava and Prosecco account for a lot more shelf space. A decent Cava sells from $12 - $15 and Prosecco from $14 - $20+ per bottle. True Champagne, and I don't count the other French offerings like Cremant, have a starting tag of around $40/bottle.

There isn't a huge Champagne offering other than the most well known houses, Veuve, Mumm, Pol Roget and some Dom now and then for the well heeled.

Sadly, Sparking Shiraz never caught on here. (Great stuff. if you see it, try it!) I talk to the liquor mongers at the LCBO and they're at a loss to explain the lack of enthusiasm over the product. Their tasters thought it would do well but apparently sales were very flat and it was discontinued. The only plus being that they cleared out the bottles of Katnook at a $3/bottle discount. I didn't get as much as I hoped for, but they were great while they lasted. biggrin.png

I'll add another thought to why Canadian vs Aussie Champagne sales differ. And that's climate. Reds sell all year long here, but white, rose' and bubbly are considered Summer drinks and are promoted/stocked as such. Other than the Xmas and New Years stock bumps, Champagne and whites in general see greater sales in the warm months.

talking about the real thing. true champagne.

a lot of really interesting stuff here (at least to me) and thanks to all for posting.

one thing - i have serious doubts you'd find the genuine stuff in paris for much under E9-10 at the cheapest. occasionally i have seen it dip to E7-8 but you know that whoever is selling that is making a loss.

price seems to be a major concern but that won't explain the difference between aussies and canadians. we are massively taxed here. the prices i am seeing quoted here are mostly cheaper than what we pay. so that can't be it - i certainly do not perceive of aussies as being so noticably wealthy, as a whole, than canadians that we do not mind paying the extra. we also have plenty of other european options but even more so, a great many local top quality sparklers.

climate got mentioned and i suspect that probably has a lot to do with it.

the beer/spirits thing also does not make sense as a reason for this. the latest figures i could find peg us at 19th in the world per head for beer consumption with you guys at 39th. overall we are at 12.2 litres of pure alcohol and canada is at 10.2. i think you might be marginally above us in certain spirits, especially gin and tequila.

the limited choices of actual champagne might also be relevant. we have a huge array of houses and growers etc here.

that, but more so the climate. seem likely to be the main reasons i think.

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Perhaps adding to the perceived skewness is the rapid rise in sales within Australia, with a doubling of volume and value within 2010-2015. The link John provided gives some good stats insight:

attachicon.gifChamp_1415.BMP

attachicon.gifChamp_Australia_.BMP

So the question may likewise be - what's happening in Australia that makes Champagne go so strong? (while still in Canada there was a appr 25% growth in the same period, stagnation within Europe)

Edit: Textual additon from the bulletin:

For the sixth year in a row, exports have reached new heights in volume, at 8.1 million bottles in 2015. With an increase of 1.6 million bottles, growth has been particularly clear in volume (+24.3%), a large increase on average levels over the past decade (+13.4%).

In value, the previous record of 116.6 million euros has been broken, although the increase is slightly lower (+11.2). Sparkling wine consumption in Australia is continuing to flourish, and Champagne maintains its position as the second largest market segment, which indicates that Australians not only have a certain purchasing power, but also that they are conscious consumers. The range is occupied by over 90% non-vintage Brut Champagne, with the Houses taking more or less equal positions, providing opportunities to develop Champagne diversity.

the consumption has certainly increased of late but we have been in the top ten, not quite so high i think, for as long as i can recall.

what is interesting is the massive change in the actual champagne we are drinking. it is now overwhelmingly non vintage yet in the past, and not really that long ago, we were very strong on vintage. i think we may have even been the highest consumers of vintage champagne, per head, in the world. not so any more.

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i meant the photo of the glass enclosed cork.

Got it and yes it is from sabrage. Fun fact, my cat, Raymond, chases the corks when he ears the knife tap the bottle a couple times before I strike!

I think you are right with the climate and the selection factors. We have a nice selection of champagne, especially in the high end but not much from small growers or local neither ( few exceptions not worthy to mention.). Might also be cultural, we often hear negative (crab in a bucket syndrome is real here...) things about people that are successful. Maybe this prevents some people to purchase it given its celebratory association.

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Got it and yes it is from sabrage. Fun fact, my cat, Raymond, chases the corks when he ears the knife tap the bottle a couple times before I strike!

I think you are right with the climate and the selection factors. We have a nice selection of champagne, especially in the high end but not much from small growers or local neither ( few exceptions not worthy to mention.). Might also be cultural, we often hear negative (crab in a bucket syndrome is real here...) things about people that are successful. Maybe this prevents some people to purchase it given its celebratory association.

might have to do it next video!

although the contents would be wasted on guess who.

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Got it and yes it is from sabrage. Fun fact, my cat, Raymond, chases the corks when he ears the knife tap the bottle a couple times before I strike!

Funny you mentioning that. Our eldest dog always comes running when she hears the plop of opening a bottle of wine. When she was young I would give her the cork for playing, and since then she (we) kept to this habit.

That said, she clearly prefers red over whites...biggrin.png

Edit: Actually, I have to corrcet myself - quite like your cat, she is already reacting to a certain cling noise from the waiter's knife before I even start to open the bottle....

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