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Everything you always wanted to know about wine but never dared to ask

France is undoubtedly recognized in the world as the country producing the most prestigious and coveted wines.
Indeed, the country concentrates a large number of regions, appellations and wine estates recognized throughout the world for the quality of their production.
Logically, demand for these products is often much higher than the available supply, especially abroad, and this phenomenon of scarcity (carefully maintained) often leads to higher prices.
But is this reason the only reason for the rise in the price of French wines abroad?

A little clarification is required.

Transport and import taxes: the first factor in the price of wine abroad

Wine is a product subject to excise duty (indirect tax on alcoholic products, tobacco, petroleum products, etc.).

This tax is freely fixed by the States, independently of Community policies.
Also, where France taxes the marketing of wine at around €3 per 100 litres, other countries apply much higher taxes (in England, for example, this tax amounts to around €2 per bottle!)

However, French wines are not systematically more expensive in England: the English market has been importing French wine for centuries, and historical English importers enjoy excellent relations with French producers. They therefore obtain excellent prices from the domains, particularly thanks to the fact that they buy in very large quantities.
In addition, these operators have very low logistics costs, thanks to the large volumes they handle and their logistics expertise.
Thus, it is common to find French wines sold at the same price in England as at some French retailers, who do not all have the same relationships with their suppliers.

French wines always more expensive abroad?

Above all, it is important to point out that French wines are not always sold more expensive abroad than in Metropolitan France. Indeed, the price of wine depends on many factors, starting (in theory) with the cost of each bottle to the seller.
In some cases, this cost may be lower for a foreign importer than for a French reseller (especially in areas not subject to taxation, and in cases of large volume purchases, allowing large economies of scale on transport costs).
Thus, some Great Wines sold at a gold price in France can be bought cheaper in Hong Kong for example.

The "France" brand, creating value

If French wines are often sold more expensive abroad, it is above all because high prices do not dissuade the act of buying, on the contrary....
Wine is an atypical and complex product, and its price is in many people's minds an indicator of quality.
Moreover, as mentioned above, France is internationally recognized for the quality of the wines it produces, thanks to a few spearheads (Champagne, Burgundy, Bordeaux, Rhône) that have a particularly strong international influence.

Thus, the average international consumer will naturally be attracted by French wines, which he will associate (consciously or not) with a notion of quality, especially if the price of wine is high!

Charles Bonnay

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