Bordeaux suffers sales dip at home and in China

Bordeaux has reported a slight drop in volume sales both at home and in its most valuable export market, mainland China, in the past 12 months, directly affected by the record low 2017 harvest, but volumes to the US and European markets picked up.

The domestic market was the most affected although it has proved equally difficult for all AOC wines, according to the Bordeaux Wine Council (CIVB), while in export markets it was the country’s most profitable destination, mainland China, that reported a notable drop in volume, according to latest figures.

However, while volumes took a slight dip as a result of the historically low 2017 harvest, the value of wines both at home and abroad stayed buoyant.

Over a 12-month period ending in July, Bordeaux wine exports reached 2.1 million hectolitres (-1%), approximately 282 million bottles, for a value of €2.1 billion (+9%).

During the period, 1.4 million hectolitres were exported to non-EU countries, a drop of 3% in volume for a value of €1.53 billion (+6%). This means that non-EU countries mainly led by China and the US now account for 66% of Bordeaux’s export volume and an even higher export value of 72%.

The drop in volumes is mainly related to the slowdown in exports to mainland China, as the CIVB explained. China imported 551,000 hectolitres (equal to 73 million bottles), a year-on-year decrease of 11%.

In value, however, it still remains the leading destination for Bordeaux wines in export markets. During the period, despite a double-digit drop in volume, its export value grew 3% to €377 million, signalling a trade-up for export prices.

Hong Kong remains a particularly dynamic market for Bordeaux wines. Bordeaux accounts for 18% of the volume of Hong Kong’s imported wines and 43% of the overall value. Red wines account for the great majority, 97% in volume terms.

In the US, the second biggest export market for Bordeaux, exports recorded both growth in volume and value. Over the past 12 months, the US experienced new growth with a 4% increase in volume (204,000 hectolitres shipped, equal to 27 million bottles) and 22% in value to €271 million.

Japan, third biggest destination for Bordeaux in terms of export volume, stabilised at 150,000 hectolitres for a value of €113 million.

Within the EU, 713,000 hectolitres were exported to EU member countries (+1% in volume) for a value of €605 million (+16%).

Belgium imported 192,000 hl (-1%) of Bordeaux during the period for a value of €124 million (+18%), while the UK imported 185,000 hl (+11%) for a value of €224 million (+17%). Bordeaux’s third biggest EU market, Germany imported 165,000 hl (+8%) for a value of €121 million (+27%), according to the CIVB figures.

With the 2018 looking to pick up in volume production, despite hail and the threat of powdery mildew, quality-wise it is looking to be, “a very good vintage,” said the CIVB.

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