Champagne to the United States
Champagne to the United Statesplummeted 41.2 percent from January to August, according to the Champagne Bureau. Why should you care? Because it means prices are dropping. High-end Champagne isn't cheap, mind you, but when the price of Cristal drops below $200 you know something is amiss. If you stay away from the better-known brands like Veuve Clicquot there are plenty of bargains: Gosset and Delamotte (two of my favorite Champagne producers that don't have the marketing budgets of the bigger houses) can be found for between $30 and $35 - a steal. And this is the time of year to buy bubbly anyway; bubbly producers always drop their prices when there's this much competition.
Sparkling wine is another great option; the term refers to any bubbly made outside the Champagne region of France. Cava from Spain, Prosecco from Italy, Sekt from Germany - they're all bubbly at a bargain price. And don't forget the excellent sparklers from California (including Schramsberg, J, Domaine Chandon, Iron Horse, and Scharffenberger).
Final tip: A fun way to liven up that New Year's party is by serving individual bottles (187mL) or even cans of bubbly: POP by Pommery (a Champagne producer) offers Champagne in small blue bottles, while Sofia Mini Blanc de Blancs (from California) comes in little pink cans; straws optional. Happy New Year!