Champagne and Cognac boost French exports

Fizzing Champagne and Cognac sales last year helped to boost French wine and spirits exports, with Champagne values sales up 12.1% to €2.7bn.

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Cognac value sales meanwhile leapt 19.6% to €2.6bn, while the spirit’s volume sales rose 9.4%, leading to a record-breaking year for France, with exports bringing in €11.7 billion – up 8.7% on 2014.

The record-breaking figures, released by the Fédération des Exportateurs de Vins & Spiritueux de France (FEVS), come after two years of declines.

Wine and spirits’ strong performance last year makes it the second most valuable export industry for the country ahead of perfume but behind aerospace.

Wine and spirits sales to China were up 23% to €830m, with volume sales up 19%, despite a continued government crackdown on gift giving and a weakening Chinese economy.

The US, UK and Germany are France’s three biggest export markets for wine and spirits, with China in fourth place. Value sales of French exports to the US were up 28.1% to €2.6bn last year.

FEVS president Christophe Navarre attributed France’s strong performance to a weaker euro as 60% of exports were headed for countries beyond the eurozone.

But while French wine and spirits makers have reason to celebrate, 2015 export volumes fell 3.6% on 2014 hinting at a long-term problem that needs addressing as France continues to lose ground on its share of the international wine market.

France is now no longer the most exported wine country to Japan, having recently been overtaken by Chile, while Spain and Australia continue to threaten France’s share of the wine market with low cost entry-level wines.

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