Time to Hoard the Bubbly?

Demand for champagne could outstrip France's capacity. One solution: England!

Francois Nascimbeni / AFP / Getty

Workers collecting grapes of Chardonnay on the first day of handpicking.

These would be hard times for Voltaire and Churchill. Marilyn Monroe too. Champagne, the libation they all adored, is running short. The drink itself is as effervescently seductive as ever--322 million bottles were sold last year, thanks largely to the world's new rich. Russia imported 731,322 bottles in 2006--39% more than the year before. China's imports increased 50%. That demand has pushed Champagne, the beautifully austere part of northeastern France that produces this nectar, to the brink. "For 30 years the region of Champagne has always succeeded in coping with demand," Frédéric Cumenal, president of the world's top brand, Moët &...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!