If you have a taste for the high life, now's the time to bag a bargain - supermarkets and wine retailers are staging a "champagne war".

Industry experts say slow sales of champagne internationally through the recession has meant an oversupply of bubbly from France.

While champagne is usually discounted in the lead-up to Christmas and during other periods of the year, prices have been cut much earlier this year.

Liz Wheadon, general manager for wine and spirits retailer Glengarry, said: "The biggest selling time for champagne is Christmas and in summer and what you probably see in New Zealand more than other countries, is more aggressive pricing around Christmas time because it is summer as well."

Many of the wines were also coming in gift boxes or with novelty accessories such as petanque sets, she said.

Victoria Park New World wine manager Matt Jefferies said most champagne sales occurred over the Christmas and New Year period.

"Because most of it is sold in that very small window everyone's got to be really competitive with their price. That's the time you've got to shift your product and if you're not competitive you're going to end up with a whole lot of stuff left over, basically for the rest of the year."

Sales there are also up at least 35 per cent on last year, he said.

"This year has by far eclipsed last year. We've never really had this kind of pricing so far out from Christmas. It tended to be from December through to Christmas or New Year's but now we've seen it coming in from say Labour Weekend onwards, so it's been kind of champagne wars for a good two or three months.

"Also, I don't think we've seen this kind of pricing across the board. In supermarkets anyway, it was traditionally limited to say, Moet and maybe Veuve Clicquot, but now you're seeing all the major champagne brands being discounted.

"The champagne houses themselves are all vying for market share. I can assure you we're not loss-leading ... there's such a lot of competition now. Sparkling wines have had a greatest growth in the wine industry at the moment. It's kind of gone from being something that nobody really used to think about very much to an area of the wine industry now which is a huge piece of the pie."

Glenfield Pak'N Save wine manager Peter Gasson said sales were well up on last year.

"I think people have got a bit more money this year and it's been quite sunny and warm and everyone's had a bit more of a positive attitude."

BIG BARGAINS
New World:
*Veuve Clicquot - $69.99 was $90.97
*Moet and Chandon - $59.99 was $85.99

Glengarry:
*Veuve Clicquot $69.90 was $99
*Moet and Chandon $59.90 was $89

Countdown:
*Veuve Clicquot $59.90 was $86.88
*Moet and Chandon $54.99 was $86.88