Fewer people than usual will pop bottles of bubbly at midnight. Pour one out for France’s Champagne region.
AVENAY-VAL-D’OR, France — Champagne means celebration. But for France’s Champagne region, 2020 brought little to celebrate. In ordinary times, the region in France’s east, a global center of sparkling wine production and home to the only winemakers allowed to claim the Champagne name in some jurisdictions, would usher in the new year with lavish banquets in centuries-old castles or palaces, its sparkling treasure flowing freely. But after a year of dismal sales and drastic restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic, that seems like a distant memory.