French exports of wines and spirits broke a new “historical” record in 2017, with an increase of one billion euro in overseas sales compared to 2016, the Federation of Exporters announced.
Last year, in total, France shipped 198.6 million 12-bottle cases of wine and spirits worldwide, 5% more than the previous year, bringing in €12.9 billion, an increase of 8.5% , according to data provided by the Fédération des Exportateurs de Vins et Spiritueux de France (FEVS).
This “remarkable” performance consolidates the sector’s position as France’s second-largest trade surplus, at €11.5 billion, and “brings the colours of the Maison France to the fore,” said Antoine Leccia, president of FEVS.
As in 2016, cognac led the increase in exports (+8.7% in volume and +10.8% in value), but wine shipments also picked up again, with increases of 6% in volume and 9.6% in value, after four consecutive years of slump due to their lack of competitiveness.
All of France’s wine-growing regions benefited, with nearly 145 million cases of wine shipped (+6%).
After the uncertainties caused by the Brexit vote in the UK in 2016, sales in the European Union rose again (+4.5%), but the growth was more than 80% due to consumer appetite in so-called third countries (United States, Asia, and others) for French spirits.
The US thus remained the leading market, with annual sales now exceeding €3 billion (+10%).
China also continued to grow, with sales exceeding €1.2 billion, an increase of 25%, driven by the rise of the middle classes and the urbanization of the population.
“It is essential for our sector on the one hand to pursue ambitious free trade agreements with key markets around the world, to fight against trade barriers and to strengthen the protection of geographical indications (or appellation), and on the other hand to strengthen our export capacity, in order to preserve and develop the 300,000 jobs linked to our exports, mainly in rural areas,” said Mr Leccia.