Will a Champagne Shortage Ruin Your New Year’s Eve Plans?

A "perfect storm" of complications has left bottles of bubbly in short supply this year

Close-up photo shows hands raising two glasses of champagne for a toast
Once again, it's an uncertain NYE for champagne.
Photo by Ira Heuvelman-Dobrolyubova

It’s been a rough couple of years for champagne. Given the bubbly libation’s association with celebratory events and large gatherings — two things that have been largely verboten during pandemic times — champagne sales were projected to take a major dip in 2020. While some reports suggested the great champagne decline wasn’t as dramatic as anticipated, the industry took another hit this year thanks to the widespread supply chain issues that marred the latter half of 2021. Combine these logistical disruptions with the decidedly uncelebratory Omicron surge ahead of the holidays, and the champagne industry (and its consumers) are once again looking at an uncertain New Year’s Eve.

This year’s champagne problems are “a perfect storm” of logistical roadblocks, including backlogged shipments stuck at U.S. ports and a lack of delivery drivers, according to Alison Napjus, senior editor of Wine Spectator.

“It’s not even just that basic transportation issue. We’re also looking at things like shortages of the cage that goes on top of your bottle, labels, boxes to put wine in,” Napjus said on Fox Business’s Mornings with Maria. “So you put that all together with the huge increase in demand we’ve seen for champagne this year [and] for other sparkling wines and of course, the holiday season, and it could be tough to find some of your favorite labels this year.”

Unfortunately, it’s not just NYE 2021 that may suffer from a lack of bubbly. Earlier this month, a report from Wine Enthusiast magazine predicted the champagne shortage could last for years, again blaming a “perfect storm” of champagne-adverse conditions leaving the future of bubbly uncertain. After lowering production limits in response to 2020’s decline in sales, the industry was ill-prepared for the subsequent increase in demand in 2021. Add in supply chain shortages and a slew of unprecedented weather issues that rocked the Champagne region throughout the year, and the celebratory staple is simply harder to come by this year.

Fortunately, while we can’t fix all of your champagne problems this year, we can recommend plenty of equally festive libations to substitute in place of sparkling wine this New Year’s Eve. So if you’re having trouble getting your hands on a bottle of bubbly for tonight, check out some of these alternative options for celebratory sipping this year.


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