What is the current state of the French wine market? Do we export a lot of our wines? Which countries does France export to the most? Which wines are the most popular? What impact do the new challenges in the industry have on French wine exports? Les Grappes takes stock of the French wine export market.
Today, France is the second largest wine producer in the world with 4.2 billion liters of wine produced, which represents 17% of world production. Italy remains the leading wine producer with over 44.5 million hectoliters.
In terms of types of wine produced, 75% are still wines. 55% are red, 26% are white and 19% are rosé.
France is, in 2019, the 2nd largest wine consuming country in the world with a score of over 3.5 billion bottles drunk.
Nevertheless, French consumption has been decreasing for 30 years: where the French consumed 100 liters per year in 1975, they now consume "only" 40.
The main market of France remains... France. 60% of the bottles produced are consumed in France. 5 bottles out of 10 are bought in supermarkets, 3 in restaurants, 1 sold directly at the winery and 1 sold online through e-commerce. An e-commerce that is developing more and more to also sell abroad.
Exports of French wines and spirits reached a new record in 2022, a trend that should continue in 2023 with the easing of sanitary measures in China and the recovery of tourist trade
Exports of wines and spirits, which represent the second largest export item for France after aeronautics, reached 17.2 billion euros in 2022, up 10.8% according to the Federation of French Wine and Spirits Exporters (FEVS).
In 2021, the Covid-19 economic crisis blocked all restaurant activity, blocking the wine market by extension. But as the crisis emerged, the entire industry was pleasantly surprised by the wine industry's exceptional sales records.
Sales to the United States rose by 14% last year to 4.7 billion euros and now represent more than a quarter of total exports in value. This increase is mainly due to the removal of the so-called "Trump" taxes. Other countries have participated in the increase in sales such as the United Kingdom and China. The African market could represent a great opportunity with a 21% increase in exports in 2022.
The most consumed wines outside France remain Champagnefor an amount in value that exceeds 3.5 billion euros. Then come Bordeaux (2.3 billion euros), Burgundies (1.27 billion), wines from the Rhone Valley (524 million) or those of Provence (313 million).
For more information, see our our article on the wine market in the world.
With increasingly extreme weather conditions for the production of French wines, one wonders if winemakers will be able to keep up the pace to sell more and more for export. According to OIV figures, the value of hexagonal wines exploded by 27% in 2022, despite a production down 21% compared to 2020. This is due to a severe drought in the summer as well as a frost that has impacted all the vineyards in Europe. Winegrowers will have to find new methods to resist to environmental hazards.
Beyond environmental issues, winemakers are constantly reinventing themselves to respond to changing consumer trends. Many winemakers have implemented actions to keep their viticulture attractive. The digitalization of the winery, for example, will allow customers to access it much more quickly via the internet in order to buy wine or book tours. Thanks to wine tourism, many wineries have been able to make tied sales and attract new customers through word of mouth.
A more recent issue is also worrying the winemakers: the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. The increase in the price of raw materials and the cost of energy have a direct impact on production costs.
To summarize, the industry is now in difficulty because of the decline in French consumption. However, the industry knows how to reinvent itself and continues to strengthen its position in the export market, in a context of increasing geopolitical and climatic instability. The future of French wine is for many specialists: export!
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