Union Champagne has unveiled a new cellar dedicated to production of Tesco Finest Premier Cru and Finest Grand Cru Vintage Champagnes.

The Co-op, which has supplied the retailer for more than 20 years, has spent €11m on the underground facility in the Côtes de Blancs region of Champagne. It includes a cooling system to maintain the 16,500hl of reserve wine at an even temperature, and a cellar to age 80hl of wine in oak barrels, although only a small proportion of wood-aged wine is in the final blend.

Despite increased promotion across the mults, sales of Champagne fell 7.1% in the 12 weeks to 5 January 2012, as consumers switched to cheaper alternatives [Nielsen].