Bordeaux and Champagne double-digit drop in UK delivers global dip for French exports

Loire, Burgundy and Rhone exports rose, but Champagne and Bordeaux slump fueled a 10% value drop in French wine exports to the UK in 2016.

A dramatic 13% fall in Champagne exports to Britain last year, worth more than €66 million (£56.4m), was a key factor behind a 0.8% global drop in French wine exports in 2016, France’s Federation of Wine and Spirit Exporters (FEVS) has claimed.

The FEVS attributed the decline of UK-bound Champagne exports to the weakening of the pound in 2016 and economic uncertainty surrounding Brexit.

“The result of the referendum on Brexit accelerated the weakening of the pound which had started in November 2015,” a FEVS spokesman said.

“Champagne represents 45% of total wine exports by value to the UK [including re-exports] and it is, therefore, more sensitive to the impact of Brexit,” the spokesman confirmed.

Previously unpublished official figures from French Customs, obtained by Harpers, reveal that Champagne exports to the UK last year plunged 13% in value, down from €516.7m in 2015 to €450.5m (£381.2m) last year.

In terms of volumes, Champagne exports to the UK fell by 8%, from 255.4 million hectolitres (HL) exported in 2015, to 234.9 million (HL) exported last year.

Françoise Peretti, Director of the UK Champagne Bureau, declined to comment on the official Champagne export figures to the UK saying she would only comment on figures from the Champagne Committee, which publishes its annual figures on Champagne sales in March.

When asked whether the rise of rival sparkling wines such as English Sparkling Wine, Cremant and Cava had impacted on the fall in Champagne exports to the UK last year, Peretti was circumspect.

“Regarding sparkling wines, we are delighted that the Champagne and sparkling wine category is in demand, growing worldwide and that all segments benefit from it. [Sparkling wine] market growth has not affected Champagne’s commitment to the UK and its development in our leading export market,” she said.

Wine exports to the UK from the Loire, Burgundy and Rhone increased last year, but the slump in Champagne and Bordeaux exports to Britain, fuelled the 10% drop in the value of total wine exports to the UK.

French Customs figures reveal that value of Bordeaux exports to the UK fell by more than €50m, representing a staggering 26% fall in terms of value, down from €204.6 million exported in 2015, to €150.8 million (£127.6m) exported last year.

Total French wine exports in 2016 to the UK fell 10% in value to €1.08 billion and 7% in terms of volumes down to 1.75 billion hectolitres last year, the figures show.

Despite the fall in Champagne exports, French customs figures show that French sparkling wines exports to the UK last year, including Cremant, increased by 49% in terms of value to €7.6m and 48% in terms of volume to more than 15,000 hectolitres.

However, in a press statement, the FEVS said that, after a strong rise in 2015, turnover from global French wine exports fell by 0.8% to €7.9 billion (£6.6bn) last year, principally as result of the impact of the weakened pound on Champagne sales in the UK.

Globally, Champagne exports fell 2.5% in value, to €2.6bn last year, the FEVS said and its figures revealed that the value of global Cognac exports in 2016 was greater than the total value of Champagne exports.

The FEVS said global Cognac exports, which increased 6.5% in terms of value, to €2.7bn and 5.5% in terms of volumes to 14.8 million 9 litre cases, were the driving force behind the increase of France’s global exports of spirits in 2016, which rose by 5.2% to €3.9bn in terms of value and by 5.1% in terms of volumes, to 50.5 million litre cases with exports of spirits increasing mainly in the US and in China, thanks to favourable Euro - US dollar exchange rates and to the recovery of China, the FEVS said.

Speaking on France’s exports of wines and spirits, FEVS Chairman Christophe Navarre said: “In a globally dynamic world market, French wines and spirits remain well-positioned, but in terms of replying to consumer demands, they are suffering from a structural shortfall in availability,

“In a strong evolving business environment, we should, now more than ever, help French companies strengthen their competitiveness and conquer new markets.”

 

FEVS Export Figures

  • Total French wine exports to the UK in 2016: Down 10% in value to €1.08 billion (£914 million) and 7% in terms of volumes down to 1.75 billion hectolitres (Source: French Customs)
  • Champagne exports to the UK in 2016: Down 13% in terms of value from €516.7m to €450.5 million (£381.2 million) and down 8%, in volumes, from 255.4 million hectolitres (HL) exported in 2015, to 234.9 million (HL) exported last year (Source: French Customs)
  • Bordeaux exports to the UK in 2016: 26% fall in terms of value, down from €204.6 million in 2015, to €150.8 million (£127.6 million) exported last year. Volumes down 8% from 180.496 (HL) in 2015 to 165.179 (HL) in 2016 (Source: French Customs )
  • Global French wine exports in 2016: Down 0.8% to €7.9 billion (£6.6bn) in value when compared to 2015, with volumes falling 1.8% to 135.6 million cases of 12 bottles (9 litre cases) (Source: FEVS)
  • Global Champagne exports in 2016: Down 2.5% in value when compared to 2015, to €2.6 billion (£2.2 billion) and in volumes down 1.3% to 11.9 million cases of 12 bottles (9 litres cases) (Source: FEVS)
  • Global Cognac exports in 2016: Up 6.5% in terms of value, to €2.7 billion (£2.28 billion) now generating more global value in terms of exports than Champagne and up 5.5% in terms of volumes to 14.8 million 9 litre cases
  • Global French exports of Spirits in 2016:
  • Up 5.2% to €3.9 billion (£3.3 billion) in terms of value and by 5.1% in terms of volumes, to 50.5 million, cases of 12 bottles (9 litre cases) (Source: FEVS)

 

French exports of Spirits to the UK in 2016:

  • Up 3.3% in terms of value to €231million (£195 million) when compared to 2015 and up 17.6% in terms of volumes, to 5.8 million case of 12 bottles (9 litre cases). (Source: FEVS) 

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