There Will Probably Be Fewer Bottles of Champagne Popped at Midnight This Year
The champagne industry has had a year of champagne problems, and this New Year’s Eve will probably feature a lot less bubbly than usual. According to the Washington Post, Americans usually consume millions of glasses of champagne while ushering in the new year. But after a devastating year that’s seen champagne sales plummet amid the pandemic, the last night of 2020 is expected to include much less of the beverage than New Year’s Eves of yore.
While many of us have been hitting various bottles a little harder than usual throughout the pandemic, leading to an overall increase in alcohol sales, certain alcoholic beverages haven’t proven as pandemic-proof. Champagne, a pricey beverage often associated with big parties and lavish celebrations, hasn’t remained quite as popular amid an era of economic hardship and social distancing that discourages the kinds of gatherings and celebrations at which champagne was once a staple.
As a result, champagne producers have seen sales plummet by more than 20 percent, marking the worst decline since World War II, according to the Post. “It’s a crisis unlike anything the Champagne region has ever seen,” Maxime Toubart, head of the Champagne winegrowers’ association, told the outlet.
After all, champagne is, as historian Kolleen Marie Guy told the Post, “a wine of celebrations.” With weddings, club outings and, yes, New Year’s Eve parties largely on hold throughout the pandemic, even those who have retained the funds to splurge on a pricey bottle of bubbly don’t necessarily have an excuse to.
Then again, as we’ve previously argued, you don’t actually need a reason — celebratory or otherwise — to pop a bottle of champagne. As Ariel Arce, restaurateur and author of Better With Bubbles told InsideHook last month, there’s no reason we should think of sparkling wine as a beverage that can only be enjoyed as part of a celebration. After all, she said, “you don’t think of sparkling water that way.” According to Arce, champagne and sparkling wines should be enjoyed as ubiquitously as their still counterparts — no party, holiday or celebration required.
That said, it’s impossible to divorce champagne entirely from its celebratory connotations — and that’s all the more reason to enjoy it more often. After a year like 2020, we could all use something to add a little sparkle to our lives. So even though you’re probably not attending a lavish New Year’s Eve party this year, there’s no reason you can’t pop (or saber) a bottle of bubbly tonight. As Arce puts it, when it comes to champagne, “the worst times are the best times.”
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