I found this interesting article written by Sophie Kevany recently.
International sales of the exceptional Bordeaux 2005 vintage have saved French wine export figures for the first half of 2008. Figures released last week, for the period January to June 2008, show a fall in French wine export volumes of 8.72%, but an almost equivalent rise in value of 8.16%, compared to the same period in 2007.
Broken down by wine category the figures, compiled by France’s national agency for export development, Ubifrance, show a clear drop in exports of cheaper wines, and a rise in demand for more pricey ones.
Exports volumes of lower category vin de table wines for the period fell by 35.65%, and value by 19.53%. Exports from the more expensive Bordeaux region on the other hand fell by 1.52% in volume, but rose by a significant 42.5% in value.
Hervé Henrotte of Ubifrance said the significant rise in Bordeaux values was partly explained by sales of the exceptional 2005 vintage, now being delivered to retailers and consumers.
However, the overall export trend, Henrotte said, was away from simpler, cheaper wines and towards higher priced, more sophisticated ones.
“In America and the UK people are moving away from varietal wines and towards more complex ones, particularly the young, urban drinkers,” he said. “They are not buying a food product, they are buying a moment of pleasure.”
Henrotte also said the dive in volume and value of the cheaper wine exports was partly a correction on last year. “During much of 2007 exports [of these wines] rose significantly during the ban in Russia on imports of wine from Moldova,” he said.
However, the high value of the euro against both the dollar and sterling also played a role he said, as well as the fact that at this lower level, there was a lot more competition from other wine making countries, and consumers were more price conscious.