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Bordeaux Exports Stable But Chinese Market Weakens

Asian buyers examine Bordeaux wines during this year's Vinexpo
© AFP | Asian buyers examine Bordeaux wines during this year's Vinexpo
Bordeaux has announced a drop in sales to China, though exports are still at their highest-ever level.

Bordeaux’s wine exports have increased in volume by one percent over the past year, although in value terms the market has fallen by three percent – primarily due to a dip in the Chinese market.

According to the regional industry association, the Comité Interprofessionnel des Vins de Bordeaux (CIVB), a total 2.36 million hectoliters (314 million bottles) of wine were exported in the year ending July 2013.

The one percent rise was accompanied by a slight fall in value to 2.21 billion euros ($2.98 billion), down 3 percent.

The CIVB says the figures represent stability in the market after significant rises in the year ended July 31, 2012. In that period, exports rose by 17 percent to 2.33 million hectoliters, with turnover up by 28 percent at 2.29 billion euros ($3.92 billion).

“This is a level close to that of 2012 – figures never previously achieved in the history of Bordeaux,” said CIVB president Bernard Farges. He noted that “exports are more than ever the driver of growth” for the Bordeaux wine industry.

The markets which recorded the largest fall in value were Hong Kong (down 22 percent to 324 million euros/$438m) and China (down 8 percent to 230 million euros/$311m). However, in volume terms China remains the top destination for Bordeaux wines, with imports stable at 525,000 hectoliters.

“Things are stabilizing in China. We no longer have the exponential increases in volume and value that we had a few years ago,” said Allan Sichel, the CIVB’s deputy president.

“The Chinese market is developing in terms of distribution and consumption,” he said, adding that “it would not be desirable to be more dependent on China in volume terms than we are today.”

While exports to China have fallen, there's been a 15 percent rise in the volume of exports to the United States (to 182,000 hectoliters). In terms of value, this represents an increase of four percent, to 214 million euros ($289 million). The Japanese market is also rising, with an increase in volume of 10 percent (to 186,000 hectoliters), and in value of four percent (to 127 million euros/$171m).

The CIVB also noted a drop in the consumption of Bordeaux wines in France, with a two percent decline in volume over the year to 1.44 million hectoliters.

"In the rest of Europe, the continuing economic crisis has had an impact on wine consumption,” Sichel said. Export volumes are stable at 1 million hectoliters, but the value of Bordeaux wines supplied to European markets has fallen by five percent to 830 million euros ($1,122m).

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