Exports of wines from the French region of Bordeaux dropped by 2 per cent in volume to 2.2 billion hectolitres and by 5 per cent in value to €1.2 billion during 2001/02, according to the latest figures from the CIVB, the Bordeaux Wine Institute.
A poor performance from the German market was to blame for the decline, the CIVB said, with sales down 13 per cent there to 410,000hl. Germany is the largest single export market for Bordeaux wines.
There was some good news, however, with sales to Belgium recovering to 377,000hl (up 6 per cent) and those to the UK rising 3 per cent to 352,000hl. There were also sharp rises in imports to Ireland (up 22 per cent to 15,000hl) and Finland (20 per cent to 14,000hl).
Denmark, however, imported 6 per cent less wine from Bordeaux, with just 142,000hl, while the Netherlands posted a 2 per cent decline in sales to 179,000hl and Swedish imports fell 14 per cent to 20,000hl.
Outside the EU, the CIVB said that it was pleased with the performance in Canada, where imports rose 12 per cent to 84,000hl, and with the recovery in the US market after the sharp decline in sales at the end of 2001 because of the downturn in consumer spending after 11 September. US sales are now almost back to the pre-2001 level of 150,000hl.
In Asia, Japanese exports remained stable at 138,000hl, but Hong Kong registered a decline of 4 per cent to 15,000hl.
Non-EU European sales were led by Russia where sales rose 13 per cent to 12,000hl and by Switzerland, where sales of 93,000hl remained unchanged from the previous year.
The CIVB said that the good growth in the previous two years had been undermined by the events of 11 September 2001, with total exports dropping 100,000hl, but stressed that the short term prospects for growth were good. In the first seven months of 2002, volumes rose 5 per cent compared to the same period a year earlier.
In France, which accounts for 64 per cent of Bordeaux wine sales, sales have grown well to 3.8 million hl and more than €3 billion, allowing companies to offset the decline in export sales. Sales to major retail chains rose 0.7 per cent during the year to 1.6 million hl and by 2.6 per cent to €860 million.
Red wine, which accounts for 84 per cent of Bordeaux sales, saw a 0.5 per cent rise in volume, while white wine sales rose 0.7 per cent and rose wines grew 7.5 per cent.