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Swiss take their champagne in moderation

Champagne sales in Switzerland have fallen sharply since last year


A year after toasting the new millennium, the Swiss appear to have lost their taste for champagne. Imports fell by a whopping 20 per cent in 2000, suggesting that the Swiss only open a second bottle if there is something really special to celebrate.

The latest figures from the federal customs office show that the Swiss are starting 2001 with a lot less fizz than last year.

Between January and November 1999, Switzerland imported some 11,5 million litres of bubbly - an impressive figure for a population of little over seven million.

But now it appears that around one fifth of those bottles were bought simply to welcome in the new millennium. In 2000, imports sank to just 9.2 million litres.

The country's largest champagne importer, Coop, confirmed that sales in 1999 were much higher than usual.

The customs office said the Swiss spent SFr138 million ($85 million) on imported sparkling wine in 2000, with some 80 per cent coming from France.

But a more detailed look at the figures suggests the Swiss are becoming increasingly tight-fisted when it comes to buying bubbly. The Coop says purchases of cheaper Italian and Spanish sparkling wines have soared - sales of Italian sparkling wine have increased five-fold in the past three years.

swissinfo with agencies

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