How is the Price of Champagne Decided?
5th August 2016
How exactly is the price of a bottle of Champagne worked out and why is it often more expensive than other types of sparkling wine?
To determine the price of a bottle of wine, there’s many factors which can come into play.
Vintage or Non-Vintage?
One of the more obvious ones is whether a Champagne is vintage or non-vintage; there will be a clear price difference between the two.
A vintage is more expensive because it’s made with grapes from one exceptional harvest from a particular year, rather than a blend of different years. Rare vintage years cost more as they in very limited supply. Vintages are said to be much more fine, distinguished Champagnes.
When compared with some other sparkling wines like Prosecco, Champagne can seem expensive. One reason might be the method used to make Champagne, called the traditional method (or méthode traditionelle / méthode champagnoise) is more laborious, time-consuming and expensive.
Some sparkling wines are fermented in large tanks while Champagne has a secondary fermentation in individual bottles: read more bout the difference here. The traditional method results in a more complex and higher quality sparkling wine with more toasty, creamy flavours.
Another variable is the land on which the grapes are grown. You may have seen bottles with Grand Cru or Premier Cru written on them – these refer to the quality of the ‘terroir’ (soil, climate and general growing conditions).
In the Champagne region, more desirable lands come at a higher price. On top of that, there can be a limit to how many grapes a certain area is able to produce making it even more exclusive.
Just like quality designer clothes, top class Champagne houses can cost more. Brands associated with luxury or famous figures (such as Armand de Brignac with Jay Z or Bollinger and James Bond) bring a certain prestige you can’t find with other drinks.
Champagne has a limited supply, but a high demand which will naturally be reflected in a higher price. This can be from smaller Champagne houses or certain geographical areas.
In the end, the Champagne label has a long history behind it. It’s the most famous wine in the world with millions of people enjoying it everyday. The name Champagne is the mark of a quality bubbly that people can rely on.
A huge number of other factors affect the price of a Champagne including: the grape varieties, production tools, bottle design, distribution costs, the particular retailer (with varying mark-ups) and whether it’s bulk produced.
In the end, whatever your budget you can almost always guarantee a good glass of bubbly!
See: Top 3 Expensive Champagnes
Glass of Bubbly
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