As the 2019 season draws to a close, French winegrowers can finally take a breather. The frosts in spring and the heat wave this summer will have damaged the crops, as well as the nerves of the winegrowers. This bad weather has resulted in a sharp drop in harvests, and therefore a certain drop in sales, which has unfortunately been continuing for several years. In order to boost sales and restore the reputation of our beloved French wine, the various players in the French wine industry are pushing producers to turn to international markets.
Quality and renowned wines
France is known worldwide for its wines, and its reputation is well established. The image of the French way of life, the know-how of the wine-growing regions and the quality of French wine are in the favour of French producers. French wines are also very present in the middle ranges, where the diversity of the French offer makes it possible to reach all the markets, and for all types of prices. Even in years of poor harvests, such as 2017 and 2018, France remains the world's leading wine exporter and the second largest producer.
Why export French wine?
The drop in domestic consumption, as well as competition from foreign wines, is causing producers to turn more and more towards the international market. The positioning of French wines is more and more luxurious towards foreign countries, due to the reputation of the big French groups of the luxury industry. The luxury wine sector, a specific French feature where our country has a quasi-monopoly, is on the upswing, with a turnover increase of more than 5% in 2018. To give another concrete example, Loire wines are no longer really popular with French consumers, while their exports are booming abroad, or the wines of Anjou, Saumur, or Muscadet have doubled in volume and tripled in value to the United States in the last 10 years. However, competition has increased in recent years, and across all price ranges. Red wine sees its Spanish and Italian competitors overtake it, while white wine is closely followed by Germany and Spain.
How and where is French wine exported?
The concept of "Vins de France" was introduced by the Anivin federation to adapt to demand, particularly in the Anglo-Saxon markets. Wines in this category, launched 10 years ago, are linked by their grape varieties (chardonnay, merlot, cabernet franc or syrah), and not directly to a terroir. This category complements the traditional local wines, which are well known internationally, given the very wide range of French wines on offer. These Vins de France alone represent 15% of French still wine exports. The largest buyers of French wines are the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany, both in value and volume.
What future for French wines on the international scene?
French wine production has two essential qualities: the breadth of the range (diversity of supply), and the image of a quality wine, for all prices. French wines on the export market continue to perform well, despite the competition, enjoying a strong brand image and a quality appreciated throughout the world. The strength of French wine also comes from its strong link with the French art of living, and this is an asset on which producers will have to rely in order to promote their products internationally.