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French export sales rise

Published:  23 July, 2008

FRANCE: The country's wine exports in the first half of 2007 rose 7.5% to 4.16 billion (2.82bn) the Federation of Wine and Spirit Exporters France (FEVS) said.

Over the past ten years, the French wine industry has been plunged into crisis by declining consumption at home coupled with a dwindling demand for French wine abroad.

Wines from New World countries such as Australia, Chile and the United States outpaced French exports for the first time in 2003.

Chronic overproduction has compounded the problem, sending surplus wine to the distillery to be boiled down to pure alcohol. In 2005, quality wines joined the ranks of cheap table wines that are distilled.

European wine makers are being urged to respond to the challenge with a series of reforms.

The reforms include grubbing up unprofitable vineyards and an end subsidies for the distillation of unsellable wine.

EU Farm commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel also wants to simplify and streamline the system of geographical origins to make European wines more attractive to consumers.