Sparkling Future For Champagne

At the Bubble Lounge this New Year's Eve some see champagne not just as a drink but as an opportunity.

"It could be a very good investment for next year and the year 2000."

Many believe that as surely as champagne bubbles rise, so will champagne prices. CBS News Correspondent John Blackstonereports.

At D&M Liquors the buying has been frantic...people hoarding not for tonight's party...but for the one next year.

One of the customers bought four bottles already for New Year's Eve 1999 saying: "Hey 2000 comes around once in a lifetime."

Leah Reich is stockpiling her favorite...fearing predictions of a shortage next year.

"I don't think its a scare," says Reich. "I think it's a word of good advice for the consumer who likes champagne on New Year's Eve."

Joe Politz whose store is dedicated to champagne has never seen anything quite like it.

"The hype is on now which is unbelievable" says Politz.

And how is New Year's Eve 1999 going to look like at his Store?

"I hope it's empty" he says with a big laugh.

As if it wasn't enough fretting that the world's computers will crash when the Year 2000 arrives...now Americans are being warned there won't be enough champagne to go around.

"I have to say yes they better start worrying," says Chris Fehrnstrom from Chandon wineries.

But Chris Fehrnstrom is anything but worried. He is Vice President of Marketing for one of California's biggest bottlers of bubbly...hoping the millennium will usher in a sparkling future.

"Lets think about celebrating more often," says Fehrnstrom, of course he means with his product.

Champagne makers can use the boost. Americans drink less champagne now than they did 15 years ago...which makes some people skeptical that even the millennium will empty the shelves.

So as the millennium approaches it might be worth remembering a toast that was popular in 1899. It went this way:

"Here's to champagne, the drink divine. It cures us of all our troubles. It's made with a dollar's worth of wine, and three dollars worth of bubbles."

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