The first Biden effect? A champagne and sparkling wines rush in Washington DC

Access to the comments Comments
By Laura Sanders  with AFP
Happy voters pop champagne in Washington DC after Joe Biden wins presidential election.
Happy voters pop champagne in Washington DC after Joe Biden wins presidential election.   -  Copyright  Gayatri Malhotra/Unsplash   -  

Saturday's announcement of Joe Biden's election to the presidency of the United States caused a rush on champagne and sparkling wine purchases in Washington. Some stores were even close to being out of stock in the U.S. capital, a Democratic stronghold.

Calvert and Woodley, famous for its shelves of wines from around the world on Connecticut Avenue, sold between 70 and 75% more bottles than on a usual Saturday, according to a store manager.

"We sold hundreds of bottles. People want to celebrate," said Mark, a salesman there.

"I bought 20 bottles for myself," admitted his colleague, Janis.

Dressed in a Biden/Harris T-shirt and with a Biden/Harris sign in her hand, Juanita is one of the many customers who rushed in to Calvert and Woodley to buy some bubbly.

"I'm buying champagne to celebrate. I'm so happy, it's a great day for democracy," she said.

And in the Chevy Chase residential neighbourhood, Magruder's, a wine merchant which has been open since 1845, was quickly emptied out and the vendors had to go out and get more cases of champagne in reserve.

No expense was spared, with a bottle of champagne selling for upwards of 40 dollars (33 euros). "People are buying two or three bottles at the same time, it's very unusual," said one cashier. "People are so happy".

After four days of tense suspense, the former Democratic vice-president was elected president over Donald Trump. The announcement sparked joyous celebrations across the country for Democrat voters. 

A note on the use of 'champagne'

Unless a wine has been made in France's Champagne region using what winemakers refer to as the “méthode champenoise” or simply the traditional method (which involves the second fermentation of the wine taking place in the bottle), it may not legally be called Champagne. However, an agreement 15 years ago between the US and the EU only stipulated that the US would 'limit' its use of 'semi-generic' terms like Champagne, Chablis and Chianti. And if a winemaker in California used the term 'Champagne' on its label before the agreement came into play in March 2006, it may still use it. Therefore the bottle in the picture above, which is a sparkling wine made in California by Korbel, is allowed to use the term 'California champagne' on its label.