News & views | Why champagne offers are never as good as they seem

News & views

Why champagne offers are never as good as they seem

This morning I posted a round-up of what I think are the best champagne and sparkling wine offers at the moment but I don’t want you to get overly excited.

Why? Because even at half price the discounts are never as good as they seem.

The fact is that the majority of champagne is ludicrously overpriced in the first place. Most grandes marques as the big brands are known charge between £30 and £45 a bottle for their basic non-vintage yet make millions of bottles a year - 26 million in the case of Moet et Chandon according to a recent post from a new blog called Glass of Bubbly.

True, champagne has to be aged for at least 3 years to become enjoyable but so does sherry (in fact longer) and it doesn’t cost half as much. And with the economies of scale you get from zillions of bottles it shouldn’t cost anything like the price it does as the supermarket own brands prove (and they’re not making a loss either).

Take Bollinger (annual production 2.5 million bottles according to Glass of Bubbly) whose Special Cuvée is quoted at around £42. It can be found this weekend from anything from £24.37 a bottle at Tesco if you’re buying 6 or more bottles (until midnight tomorrow) to £45 (oddly at The Wine Society though they are offering a £45 discount for a case of six). If it goes back up to the ‘normal’ price why pay it? You could always buy Roederer (if that’s on special offer) instead.

And you just know that obscure brands such as Bredon Brut currently selling at £31.99 at Waitrose must be being lined up for a half price deal (it’s been discounted by 50% just before Christmas every year I can remember). And voilà! So it is. Half price until December 18th. (FB 5/12/13)

Supermarkets must rely on the fact that we’re so confused as to what the real price should be that once an offer has expired we’ll still cough up. You can sometimes find better deals as I’ve pointed out in my column in the Guardian today in independent wine merchants.

So don’t let yourself be overcharged. Follow Fizzwatch or check out wine-searcher.com. Don’t be too proud to serve own brand champagne and make it sparkling wine rather than champers for a party.

 

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