How much should you pay for a bottle of Champagne?

4th July 2016

How much should you pay for a bottle of Champagne?

Such a simple question and yet so complicated to give a definitive answer as it greatly depends on who is asking and more so, why… Let me explain:

Champagne costs vary so much these days, if you pop in to some of our national supermarket chains you could find a bottle from under £10 and yet you can also look to purchase a bottle online for over £1,000,000. So why such as massive difference in prices?

Many people will simply be looking for a bottle of bubbly to celebrate a special occasion and nothing else really matters so long as it says Champagne on the bottle and they recognise the brand name. Others will purchase that bottle to enjoy the experience of tasting a fine sparkling wine and will want the best quality  for their money and these people sometimes wonder off to look at wines from other regions and country who make their wines in the same process as Champagne ie Franciacorta and English Sparkling Wine.

In general, I would say the best price to pay for a bottle of Champagne would be around £28 – £35 per bottle (assuming that you are purchasing directly from suppliers ie wine store / wine merchant). This price range allows you to explore a selection of Champagne that would include not only some of the well known brands that we all know and their more superior labels, but it also gives you the chance to explore some of the lesser known / smaller producers (known to many as Grower Champagnes). Approaching the higher end of the price range then you can also look to experience some vintages that really do stand out from our everyday non-vintage Champagnes which we usually come past at our supermarkets and basic wine merchants and many times are on sale prices.

What factors must we consider when purchasing Champagne?

  • Are we purchasing Champagne just for it’s name and for the well known and loved brands such as Moët & Chandon or Veuve Clicquot or are we looking to experience a more complex wine that may be found with a lesser known ‘grower’ Champagne?
  • Is type of Champagne important to you as this will affect price too, are you looking for standard Brut, is it a rosé you are after or are you after a vintage?
  • Are you a collector or are you looking for something rare? Vintage Champagnes are available from years back, millions of bottles are stored in wine cellars not only in the Champagne region of France, but also across the world and many held in storage for investment / for collectors. A vintage from the 1950’s will obviously be more expensive that something of recent years on most occasions though may not necessarily taste any better, but certainly offers that ‘wow experience’.
  • Are you after being the main attraction at that party or nightclub, are you trying to draw attention and have you the wealth to gain that with what Champagne you purchase – Is your Champagne purchase a vanity exercise?
  • Size of bottle. Yes, these come in all sizes from something that can fit in your pocket to something that two people would need to handle in order to pour, so the size of bottle can also determine the price you need to pay.
  • Cheap and eco options are not always the worst move as award winning wines can be spotted by our larger supermarkets so you may very well be getting a gem at under £10, so you economise on costs, but not tasting experience.
  • Is it for drinking now or later, is it an investment purchase? This will also determine what type of Champagne you need to purchase and the costs involved. Not all Champagne age well and we also need to think about appropriate storage as our homes, unless we have an actual cellar or professional coolers, are not the best place to look after bottles for long periods.

I would say that a high majority of Champagne purchases and certainly costs involved are mostly down to the brand you choose and it’s marketing success than what’s actually inside the bottle! Let’s face it, if you opt for a brand that is known the world over, that sponsor the biggest events, that leaps out at you when you study the Champagne aisle when shopping, then a big part of the price you pay is for those business costs ie multinational marketing campaigns they run or the celebrities they get to endorse them.

 

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Christopher Walkey

Christopher Walkey

Co-founder of Glass of Bubbly. Journalist and author focused on Champagne & Sparkling Wines and pairing them with foods and within cocktails.