It’s fair to say that, for many people, 2020 hasn’t been a year that lends itself to popping the champagne and celebrating.

With weddings cancelled and restaurants closed, the sparkling luxury wine has taken something of a back seat.

In fact, producers in France’s eastern Champagne region say they’ve lost €1.7bn (£1.5bn; $2bn) in sales this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

And in May, with France under lockdown, sales were down by 70%.

“We are experiencing a crisis that we evaluate to be even worse than the Great Depression,” one industry leader told the Associated Press last week.

Now, with tens of millions of bottles likely to go to waste and huge amounts of grapes ready to be harvested, a crisis meeting has been called for 18 August.

There, the Champagne Committee, which represents more than 16,000 winemakers, will decide whether to destroy the excess grapes or send them to distilleries to make hand sanitiser.

The situation has, unsurprisingly, led to some tension in the industry. One producer told Euronews that the prospect of the famous grapes being used to make hand sanitiser was “an insult to nature”.

And there is also a reported rift over how much champagne should be bottled this year, with producers calling for a sharp reduction due to falling sales. Growers, on the other hand, say this will take a major toll on their revenue.