Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

French Fizz Falls Flat on Its Face in Us

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

French Fizz Falls Flat on Its Face in Us

Article excerpt

Byline: ROSS TIEMAN

CHAMPAGNE'S bubble has been burst by plummeting exports to the key American market,

A combination of terrorist attacks, economic gloom and the pervading threat of renewed attacks in the US has taken the fizz out of the French drink that has cornered the market for happiness and optimism.

"No one wants to order champagne except for weddings," says Liz Neumark, boss of a New York catering firm. "They are afraid of being perceived as too happy in a time of great mourning."

December is traditionally viewed by many of the great champagne houses as the make-or-break month. This year, the emphasis is on break.

Reports from New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and other sophisticated, cashrich cities imply champagne is going down the plughole this festive season.

Just a week ago, Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy, the luxury goods company with four champagne houses, put out its third profit warning in two months, while Harper's, the weekly British wine trade magazine, reports bubbly sales to America being half of last year. …

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