Bubbly's Flat Vintage

Champagne makers refuse to cut prices. Now they are facing some harsh choices

Nigel Blythe / Cephas

Glut Champagne's vineyards have enjoyed good growing conditions. But sales are down

With this year's harvest almost in, Champagne's grape growers should be rubbing their hands. It has been a good year in the vineyards, with enough rain and sunshine when it mattered and very little disease to spoil the grapes. And so the growers — or vignerons — were looking to sell a bumper crop to the Champagne houses such as Moët et Chandon, Lanson and Mumm, who turn the grapes into bubbly and sell it worldwide. The vignerons, who supply around 90% of Champagne's grapes, are essentially paid by the weight of fruit, so a bountiful harvest usually means good money....

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