After record global demand in 2015, new figures show the UK is the world's biggest export market for champagne. As David Pollard reports, even a possible Brexit is doing little to take the fizz out of sales.
It is as the saying goes a tough job - but somebody's got to do it. And these champagne tasters in London seem to take little persuading. A sniff and a swill, it seems, enough to choose one vintage over another. Sales of fizzy stuff soared to a record high last year. As for the economic downturn - well, who cares when you can pop a cork? SOUNDBITE (English) Pierre Mansour, Buying Manager at the Wine Society, saying: "We look back in situations like in 2008 when there was very great difficult economic times here in Europe and in fact people drank more champagne because when things are tough it's good to turn to the king of wine." And the other surprise: nowhere is champagne treated more royally than in the UK. Figures from France's independent champagne producers show Brits are its biggest export market. Shipments grew four and a half per cent last year - three times the global average. Even a possible Brexit just a mere hiccough in a long celebration. SOUNDBITE (English) Bruno Paillard, Founder of Maison Bruno Paillard, saying: "If we look at history, we can see that the links between champagne and Britain go back a long way, even if we in history have little problems like Hastings or Waterloo or things like that." A bigger issue, said one buyer, could be if leaving the EU meant more taxes. UK duty is already at around £25 a case. Another could be if demand pushes prices up even further. Right now though, these bottles very much asset bubbles of the right kind.