Wines and spirits : French exports soar in value in 2022

While French alcoholic beverage exports soared in value last year, they fell in value. Inflation but also the success of top-of-the-range wines and spirits explain this difference. The sector thus generates the second French trade surplus after aeronautics.

 

Volumes down but turnover soaring. The year 2022 was a good year for French wine and spirits exports. Foreign sales of the latter grew by 10% to 17.2 billion euros, a record turnover. And yet, sales volumes fell by 3.8% according to the Federation of Wine and Spirits Exporters (FEVS), which unveiled these figures compiled by the customs authorities on 14 February at the last Wine Paris & Vinexpo trade fair. Exports of French wines have even decreased by 6.6%, due to a 2021 harvest heavily affected by the weather (frost, hail) and geopolitical and logistical disruptions worldwide.

 

In general, inflation but also a still evident desirability of French wines and spirits explain this differential between exports in value, which are increasing in double digits, and those in volume, which are declining.

 

Top of the range driving force

 

The top of the range was the driving force behind this growth. Almost all categories of champagnes, AOC wines, cognacs and other spirits saw their sales increase (+10.8% in total in value).

 

French alcoholic beverages thus generated a trade surplus up by 10.3% to 15.7 billion euros. This is the “second largest trade surplus after aeronautics” in France, said César Giron, President of the FEVS, who welcomed this remarkable performance.

 

Headwinds

 

But not everything is rosy in the landscape of reds, whites and other rosés…

 

After having suffered a series of headwinds since 2019 (Trump taxes, Covid-19 pandemic, catastrophic vintage in 2021), the sector has been impacted since last year by inflation and the surge in production costs, from energy to packaging. However, it has been able to “absorb and pass on” the increase in costs in 2022, said the FEVS President.

 

Another difficulty facing France, the world’s second largest producer of these drinks after Italy, is that its inhabitants are increasingly turning their backs on them. Wine consumption in France has gone from “130 litres per year per inhabitant, 70 years ago” to only 40 litres today, according to the National Federation of Farmers’ Unions (FNSEA). Sales of red wine in France even fell by 15% last year and white and rosé wine by 3 or 4%.

 

Adapting to the French market

 

To stop this haemorrhage, the players in the sector are questioning themselves to better adapt to the expectations of French consumers, especially the younger ones.

 

To compensate for the disaffection of its fellow citizens, the sector is seeking to expand its international influence. 75% of our exports are outside the European Union, which should encourage us to promote the opening of markets and the signing of bilateral agreements,” observed the FEVS president. And this is good news, as several destinations “are opening up thanks to new agreements”, “such as with New Zealand, while negotiations are also underway with Australia, perhaps with India”, indicated the Minister of Foreign Trade Olivier Becht at the opening of the Wine Paris & Vinexpo trade show.

 

 

Read also > Hennessy offers tailor-made products at the Samaritaine

 

Featured photo : © Remy Cointreau

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Sophie Michentef
Sophie Michentef has worked for more than 30 years in the professional press. For fifteen years, she managed the French and international editorial staff of the Journal du Textile. She now puts her press, textile, fashion, and luxury expertise at the service of newspapers, professional organizations, and companies.

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