The Times reports that champagne sales are down this holiday season and not necessarily because people can’t afford the bubbly. Amid layoffs, foreclosures and other economic losses, as well as a shortage of the usual celebratory occasions like “mergers, closings, bonuses and office parties,” “People just don’t want to look extravagant today,” said Paul Grieco, a Manhattan restaurateur. “They still want to drink, so they cut out the Champagne and go directly to whatever they’re drinking with dinner.” Convinced this includes sparkling wine priced $10 to $20, “the sweet spot these days for good wine values,” the Times gathered a wine panel to taste test 25 bottles, admitting that, “While our price range was $10 to $20, most of the wines in the tasting were $15 to $20.” This makes total sense since a $15 bottle of sparkling wine looks so much less extravagant than a $15 bottle of champagne. “Let’s be honest,” the reporter mused, ”none of these bottles will match a very good Champagne. But they cost half what you would pay these days for the least expensive Champagne.” Half as much, huh? Clearly the Times has never heard of Andre.
So have you been cutting down on your Champagne toasts this holiday season because of the recession? And if so, what are you drinking it its place? [NYTimes]