15th March, 2014 by Rupert Millar
The Rhône has maintained its off-trade lead within the French category despite a slight dip in volume over 2013.
According to InterRhône, the southern French region is still in second overall position (behind Bordeaux) and still the leading French region in the UK off-trade, commanding 42% of all sales of French AOC red wines.
Overall Rhône exports around the world have gone up 37% since 2010, just hitting one million hectolitres although Olivier Legrand, general marketing manager for InterRhône, did admit that the small 203 harvest will mean that the Rhône won’t be able to repeat that performance next year.
Nonetheless, Legrand said that the Rhône was overcoming its earlier “weakness” of only having a few key markets and the US, Canada and Asia accounted for 50% of the volume increase in the last three years, with Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and China all proving small but “dynamic” young markets.
In the UK, sales of French AOC wines are continuing to rise, up 4.7% in 2013 and just over 10% since 2011.
Rhône wines have grown 14.4% since 2011 within this sector, however, the region is still the leading AOC for red wines by volume.
Between 2010 and 2012, sales of Rhône reds by volume increased 12% from 10.8m litres to 12.4m, in 2013 that number slumped 6% back to 11.6m litres (though still ahead of 2011’s 10.9m).
The Languedoc also declined 32% in 2013, though Bordeaux managed an 11% rise.
The effect of rising duty was visible in the evolution of pricing too. In 2007 some 74% of Rhône wines were sold below £5 and just 26% above, this has apparently been turned completely on its head with 32% of Rhône wines now sold below £5 and 68% above with the £5-£6 category now being the region’s strongest area.
For Legrand, the most positive thing about these latest figures is that the Rhône has held on to a positive position in the UK by “maintaining a positive image” of the region in the mind of the consumer.