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French wine industry suffering multiple setbacks despite good harvest

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France’s winegrowers are facing declining sales at home and abroad compounded by falling producer prices, despite achieving an above-average grape harvest last year.

The situation has been caused by rising inflation and the fact that the French are drinking less wine, the Agriculture Ministry said in its latest market analysis.

The 2023 grape harvest should actually have given France’s winegrowers reason to celebrate. At 48 million hectolitres, it was 4% higher than the previous year and 8% higher than the average for 2018-2022.

But between August and December 2023, exports of origin-protected (AOP) wines fell by 7% in volume and 5% in commercial value. Exports of other wines even fell by 16% and 11% respectively. The volume of cognac exported fell by 18% and that of champagne by 17%.

According to the ministry’s data, the producer prices of France’s winegrowers fell by 13% between August and December 2023 compared to the same period in the previous year and by 9% compared to the previous five years. Only producer prices for champagne increased by 10%.

Inflation both contributed to the decline in exports and also had a negative impact on domestic wine sales, the ministry said. Retail wine sales in France fell by 4% in 2023 after an equally large decline in 2022. Red wines, with a drop of 9%, were hit harder than white wine which saw a 4% fall and rosé which was down 2%.

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