Economic woes in champagne's home market of France took the fizz out of global sales of the prestige sparkling wine for the second year in a row in 2013, with buoyant exports to new markets unable to compensate.
Industry estimates gathered by Reuters showed that sales by volume will drop between 3 and 4 percent this year after a 4.4 percent fall in 2012, leaving total revenues flat, at best.
Tougher competition from cheaper Spanish or Italian rivals in the large British retail market is pushing the champagne houses of northern France to try to raise quality. This, they hope, will justify higher prices for a wine governed by strict limits on how and where it is produced.
(Read more: Will cheap rivals steal champagne's fizz?)