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French wine exports in the world

Exports of French wines and spirits reached record sales in 2022. The difficulties caused by poor weather conditions and harvests have been offset by higher bottle prices. So which countries import the most French wines? Which French wines export best? How to choose your export destination?

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What are the main wine exporting countries in the world?

France, 3? largest wine-exporting country by volume

For many years, three countries have shared the top of the table in terms of exported wine volume: Italy, Spain and France. In 2022, we know that France exported over 1.4 million liters of wine. This puts France in third place among the world's top wine exporters, behind Italy and Spain.

France, top wine exporter by value

Although it ranks third in terms of volume of wine exported, France has for several years been the world market leader in terms of value. Indeed, after the slump in exports caused by the health crisis, France has recovered exponentially, and since 2022 has seen its results break all records, with export sales of 17.2 billion euros for wines.

What are the main import markets for French wines?

USA: leading importer of French wine

The American market is the most important for French wines, accounting for 19% of wine exports by value in 2022. The trend is upward: in 2022, wine exports to the United States represented 2.1 billion euros, compared with 1.9 billion in 2019 and 1.4 billion in 2020 during the health crisis.

In 2019, French wines accounted for 34.15% of wine imports to the USA. Since the first half of 2022, the USA has become the biggest consumer of French wines by volume, overtaking Germany, the historic leader.

Lovers of fine wines, Americans consume a lot of still wines, and are particularly fond of the great red wines of Bordeaux and Burgundy. Demand is particularly strong in California, Texas, Florida and Illinois. Sparkling wines and bulk still wines rank second and third among imported wine products.

The United Kingdom, second largest importer of French wines

The United Kingdom is a small wine-producing country, but a big wine-consuming one. Despite its exit from the European Union, the UK continues to maintain its position as the second largest importer of French wine by value.

Currently, the most popular grape varieties are Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris for white wines, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot for reds, and Zinfandel Blanc, Shiraz and Garnacha for rosés. Organic wines are on the rise, as are vegan wines, a growing niche market. Sparkling and rosé wines are also in vogue, and the trend towards less alcoholic wines is notable (Business France, 2021).

China, the challenger

China is one of France's biggest wine export markets. For over 10 years, France has been the leading exporter to the Chinese market. By 2021, almost one in five bottles of Bordeaux wine will be sold to China.

Which French wine is exported the most?

Since 2020, the most successful French wines for export have been AOP wines. They represent 5.5 million hectoliters shipped, for sales of 5.4 billion euros in 2022.

Champagne comes next, with sales of 3.5 billion euros, followed by wines from the various French wine-growing regions: Bordeaux wines in first place, followed by Burgundy, Rhone Valley, Provence, Languedoc-Roussillon, Beaujolais, Alsace and finally the South-West.

Bordeaux wines and China

In 2021, almost one in five bottles of Bordeaux wine was sold to China. And this despite major changes in the global market: the Covid pandemic, international conflicts and elections in high-stakes countries. After two years of decline, shipments to China (including Macao and Hong Kong) were once again on the rise.

Today, the picture is positive: 2021 will have seen a strong recovery in exports for Bordeaux wines. A leap of 30% in value and 9% in volume, representing 616 million euros and 54 million bottles sold in China.

Where to import French wines?

As we've seen, certain countries, such as the United States, are very keen on French wines and represent a great export opportunity. To determine your target market, it's possible - and even advisable - to ask yourself about possible food and wine pairings with local gastronomy, for example.

European consumers such as Germans and Belgians have a long tradition of appreciating French wines, making them a favorable market for French wine exports.

Africa, in particular, is increasingly attracting the attention of the wine industry due to its fast-growing population and expanding middle class. Countries such as Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya and Ethiopia are proving to be dynamic markets for quality wines. Growing demand for top-of-the-range products and the development of a wine-drinking culture are driving the sector's growth in this region.

In addition to Africa, other emerging markets such as Southeast Asia, India, Mexico and Brazil also offer considerable potential for wine imports.

The Brazilian market, although subject to economic challenges, offers opportunities for top-of-the-range French wines, particularly in the major cities. While the global trend was one of shrinkage, demand for wine exploded during the pandemic in Brazil, which will become the world's 14th most attractive market by 2021.

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