Only in the capital do most people plan to take advantage of falling champagne prices this Christmas – the rest of Britain will stick with regular red or white wine
Budget supermarkets Aldi and Lidl have been making waves this holiday season, winning taste tests against Fortnum and Masons on mince pies and against Moet & Chandon on champagne, while slashing £107 vintage brandy down to £29.99, or offering champagne at the almost loss-making price of £10. But what is it all worth – will these prices turn champagne into the people’s drink, or simply allow the lucky few to stay classy on the cheap?
A new survey from YouGov reveals the surprising concentration of champagne drinking in the capital.
While the majority (63%) of the rest of the British population say they will not be drinking champagne this Christmas, fully half (50%) of Londoners say they will be. Notably, the 18-point regional gap between Londoners and the rest of Britain on Christmas champagne drinking is wider than the gaps that arise between Britons of different ages, politics or even classes.
And despite the increasingly affordable and accessible supply of champagne, it is also only Londoners who identify with the champagne revolution by a majority.
In fact, while identification with the traditionally upmarket sparkling wine is particularly common among the middle class (ABC1) and among people intending to vote Conservative – 47% of people both groups agree that 'champagne is for people like me', compared to only 29% of the working class (C2DE) and 37% of Labour voters – the drink is even better received in London, where 56% agree with the same statement. Outside of the capital, fewer than four in ten (37%) believe champagne is for them.
Londoners are also much more likely to call champagne their favourite Christmas drink than people elsewhere in Britain.
A third (32%) of Londoners put champagne at or very near the top of their Christmas drinking list, compared to only 17% of people from the rest of Britain, for whom it is only their third favourite seasonal drink behind red and white wine (24% and 20% respectively).
Reports suggest that for the first time half of the country are now shopping at Aldi and Lidl, whose success is due to their effort to attract middle class earners with high-quality food, wine and spirits at discount prices. One commentator asked how the £10 pound bottle of champagne is even possible, seeing as a kilo of champagne grapes cost £4.70, excise duty costs £2.56 and VAT £1.45. A supermarket representative replied: “I can’t possibly tell you that.”