For the second year in a row, overall sales of bottles of champagne were down — by 9.1 percent in 2009, in comparison with 2008.

The greatest loss came from exports outside the European Union, while exports to EU countries also fell, according to figures revealed by the Interprofessional Committee of Champagne Wine.

In 2009 there were 293.3 million bottles of champagne sold; stable sales in France allowed for a less dramatic overall loss in comparison with exports.

The 17.4 percent drop in EU exports “… affected most countries but the United Kingdom, Italy and Spain suffered the most,” according to CIVC.

Outside the EU, the economic downturn has had an effect on consumption of bubbly too, since exports were down 25.1 percent, with notable drops in the markets of USA and Japan, while “emerging countries like Russia, China, India and Brazil didn’t develop the sales expected” by the vintners committee.

However, the French organization representing champagne producers is keeping its hopes up since the last two months of 2009 showed positive signs with 5.9 percent more exports than during the same period in 2008, and since the beginning of 2010 seems to follow the same trend.

CIVC even forecasts a possible “upturn” for 2010 “depending on the evolution of the world economy.”