Exports of white Burgundy to Hong Kong surge in 2017

White Bourgogne wine exports to Hong Kong saw a notable rise in volume in the first 11 months of 2017, accounting for nearly half of all Bourgogne wines exported during the period to the city, which is described by the Bourgogne Wine Board (BIVB) as “unusual in Asia”.

From January to November last year, overall Burgundian wine exports to Hong Kong dropped by 4.2% in terms of volume to 972,070 bottles, while its export value rose by 17.8% year-on-year to €44 million – a “new record” following two years’ strong growth – according to BIVB.

The drop in volume, according to the association, was impacted by a fall in red wine exports (down by 11.8%). These wines did, however, sell for good prices, resulting in a growth in revenue of 23% for the first 11 months of 2017.

White wine sales were buoyant, up 6.2% by volume and 2% in terms of revenue. Crémant de Bourgogne still had a small market share (0.5% of imports), but is beginning to make some inroads.

Over the first 11 months of 2017, the proportion of white wines among the total Bourgogne wine sales grew from 45% to 50% by volume, equivalent to 481,230 bottles, to €9.35 million, according to the trade association.

“This is unusual in Asia, where markets traditionally tend towards red wines,” said BIVB, noting that two groups of appellations performed particularly well in both volume and value, namely Côte de Beaune and Côte de Nuits.

The Village and Village Premier Cru appellations of the Côte de Beaune and Côte de Nuits grew 45% by volume (accounting for 16.7% of white wines) and 37.8% in terms of revenue.

Additionally, the regional Mâcon appellations set a double record: they were up 167% by volume (accounting for 11.4% of white wines) and up 157% in terms of revenue. The Chablis and Petit Chablis appellations’ volume sales dipped by 1.8%.

Due to the lack of available wine, white Grand Cru wines dipped 33.2% by volume and 31.7% in terms of revenue. Lesser-known appellations such as Saint-Véran, Pouilly-Fuissé in Mâconnais, and Montagny and Rully in Côte Chalonnaise are making inroads in the Hong Kong market as well, the association added.

Despite accounting for only half of the total export volume, red wines’ export value still contributed to 79% of the total export revenue, worth €35.28 million during the period.

Regional Bourgogne red wines dominated the market, accounting for 49% of exports. The Village and Village Premier Cru appellations of the Côte de Beaune and Côte de Nuits came second, with 30% of export volumes and 27% of the revenue (up 42% for the first 11 months of 2017 over the same period in 2016).

Following the same trend as white wines, consumers in Hong Kong are opening up to new, lesser-known appellations, such as Bourgogne Hautes Côtes de Beaune, Bourgogne Côte Chalonnaise, and Bourgogne Côte d’Auxerres, or certain Village wines such as Mercurey and Irancy.

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