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The technique for the production of sparkling Champagne was, of course, invented by the British, as far back as 1660. Appropriated and admittedly later perfected by the French, to this day, Champagnes biggest export market remains the UK.

Despite the vicissitudes of the last few years the market for Champagne and other sparkling wines has proved remarkably resilient and the status of Champagne and sparkling wine as the preeminent choice for celebration seems secure.

Within Champagne the challenges posed by the sudden slowdown have resulted in a calm focus and the pressures that characterised the early noughties, namely how to cope with ever increasing demand and the political and commercial perils of expanding the appellation area have been replaced by pressures of a different sort. The grandee's thoughts have returned to considering how they can build a secure future for the next generation, re-examining the basic strengths and distinctiveness of Champagne, reemphasising heritage and above all the quality that their future will need to be built upon.

The other significant talking point in the region must surely be the continued success of a host of new grower Champagnes, adding immeasurably to the diversity, quality and value to be had from the region, another great reason to raise our glasses in celebration.