Why do champagne prices decline during the holidays?

champagne pricesWhy do Champagne prices often decrease during the holidays? Economic logic might hold that as demand increases–a huge amount of bubbly is put away during the last few weeks of the year–that prices should also increase.

A recent article in the Times mounts a parallel quest in understanding why turkey prices fall as Thanksgiving approaches and rose prices rise into Valentine’s Day.

As with frozen turkeys supermarkets, well-known champagne brands can be used as a loss-leader. Come for the Veuve Clicquot and leave with a few bottles of malbec and other full-priced items for your party. And as with frozen turkeys, there’s a vast supply of champagne brands ready to fill sales channels for this busy time of the year. Also, as with the article’s example of low-priced tuna contributing to price compression of canned tuna during Lent, the presence of perfectly serviceable other sorts of lower-priced bubbles may act to compress the prices of champagne brands. Finally, a supermarket probably doesn’t want to devote space to frozen turkey after Thanksgiving so they might be inclined to cut prices to clear out inventory. Similarly, a large wine shop might want to reduce their stock of bubbly post-New Year’s Eve.

The article points out the different market dynamic with the price of roses at Valentine’s Day: with more demand, rose prices surge. There’s a limited supply of fresh roses and flower shops can’t benefit from a loss leader as the Valentine shopper wants only roses. In the wine world, a small shop may not stock big-label champagne, so may not have loss-leaders to flog in newspaper ads. Also, if the shop focuses on grower champagne, the supply, while not as limited as fresh roses at Valentine’s Day, is more limited than the grandes marques, which could lead to price stability at a time of discounting.

When it comes to champagne shopping this holiday season, think about are you getting a frozen turkey or a rose and shop accordingly.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

8 Responses to “Why do champagne prices decline during the holidays?”

  1. It’s not like there is a shortage of bubbly, which is what drive up prices in the supply and demand equation. And Turkey is a perishable, so they need to move it when they have so much of it and no one has a hard time finding it. It really should follow the same path with roses, but somehow they get away with it since so many people are convinced that is what you must give, and so many guys procrastinate and have no clue what to give. And, even at inflated prices, its a whole lot cheaper than a diamond.

  2. The Price Stability of Roses. There’s a title for a short story.

  3. […] 25 to Pacify Neighbors – DNA School of hock: How I became a wine buff in a day – The Times Why do champagne prices fall during the holidays? – Dr. Vino Sugar High: Cinnabon Vodka Coming Soon – Advertising Age Can Wine Be Generational? […]

  4. All this talk about Champagne… What about Franciacorta? This is undoubtably some of the best bubbly in the world, and for how rare it is, the prices aren’t as ridiculous as some Champagne can get. Just know, you have options if you look hard enough! Cheers!

  5. Here’s what happens: Every champagne house feels like it needs to snag a good share of the market during this time of year. Therefore, they direct their distributors to drop pricing for December. Generally, depending on local law, they tie these price breaks in with volume purchases. Thus, pricing declines on ten case, fifty case, 100-case, etc sized purchases.

    The short answer is that they figure they’ll make it up on volume! This pricing break is figured into their business model.

    Makes you wonder if their product isn’t just overpriced during the rest of the year…

  6. Also, wholesalers who rep the big houses have to meet their annual quota of cases moved by the end of the year so they’re wheeling and dealing to make sure that happens by December 31st. Lots of accounts then load up heavy on the discounted Champagne (and other booze) in December and coast on that cheap inventory as far as possible into the next year.

  7. I think because of the competition, to many producers and they drop their prices to move the product faster, I can be wrong, but this is the feed back I get from my members.

  8. Justin and JB have an accurate view of the market forces at work. Good, inexpensive Cava is available year round but its pricing doesn’t affect Champagne pricing in February or July. Good retailers work with distributors and suppliers to get those promotional dollars applied to goods all year long. They are then able to offer better pricing vis a vis their competition and the suppliers who work with them aren’t struggling to make numbers at the end of the fiscal year.


Wine Maps

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

See my op-eds in the NYT
"Drink Outside the Box"
"Red, White, and Green"


Monthly Archives


Blog posts via email



Wine industry jobs


One of the “fresh voices taking wine journalism in new and important directions.” -World of Fine Wine

“His reporting over the past six months has had seismic consequences, which is a hell of an accomplishment for a blog.” -Forbes.com

"News of such activities, reported last month on a wine blog called Dr. Vino, have captivated wine enthusiasts and triggered a fierce online debate…" The Wall Street Journal

"...well-written, well-researched, calm and, dare we use the word, sober." -Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher, WSJ

jbf07James Beard Foundation awards

Saveur, best drinks blog, finalist 2012.

Winner, Best Wine Blog

One of the "seven best wine blogs." Food & Wine,

One of the three best wine blogs, Fast Company

See more media...


Wine books on Amazon: