The French have experienced a very heterogeneous vintage. In France too the harvesting period was one of the earliest in history. “Early harvesting always guarantees good quality” explains Jean-Michel Guiraud, Head of Communication at Inter Rhone. The summer got off to a weak start, but the last hot weeks of August ensured that the grapes ripened quickly. This picture was only tarnished by heavy hail damage in several regions. Much higher yields were registered by Champagne (+21%) and Alsace (+35%). There was particular delight within the Regional Federation of Wine-growing Cooperatives in Languedoc-Roussillon about “an exceptional 2011”. In Bordeaux, in contrast, there was more sobriety in terms of volume and quality: “Following the 2009 and 2010 vintages, this vintage has brought us back to reality”, said David Pernet (Sovivins), speaking on behalf of the oenological analysts in the region.
In total, 50.2 million hl of wine were produced in 2011, the largest volume for five years. As a result, France once again heads the list of worldwide wine producers ahead of Italy (43.5 million hl).
According to statistics from Ubifrance, export-generated turnover up to August 2011 increased by 12.2 per cent to 5.1 billion €. In this context, the increase in quality wines was particularly high. As a result, the export of wines from Bordeaux increased by 34 per cent.
With the USA as the largest importer, the hierarchy of the export markets remains unchanged at the top. With growth rates of 45 per cent in 2011 China is approaching with giant steps. Germany has also increased its import share, in particular through the sparkling wine segment, by 6 per cent.
The trends in the wine industry in France are going hand-in-hand with social changes. The main target group is the urban and pleasure-seeking individual over 30. For these very busy consumers wines with a reduced alcohol content of 8 to 10 per cent continue to be the trend-setters. The Conseil Interprofessionnel du Vin de Bordeaux (CIVB) is seeking to reach this target group with a targeted campaign: “Plan Bordeaux Demain” aims to familiarize new consumers with the world of Bordeaux wines. The motto: “Bordeaux Wine.Living in style”.
The massive increase in demand for organic wines is comparable with the developments in Germany. According to Agence BIO, Paris, the market volume of 92 million bottles in 2010 will grow to 172 million units in 2012.
In this context there is a new development on the wine-grower’s side as far as the production of “natural wines” is concerned. By forgoing everything “unnatural”, such as for example the use of sulphur, the aim is to increasingly give the wine its own characteristics.
Tips for ProWein 2012
The entire diversity of the Grande Nation is represented with well over 600 exhibitors. The selection extends from the world-famous Chateaux des Bordelais and Burgundy up to the small, self-marketing wine-producers from all winegrowing areas. You can obtain the best overview at the large marketplace for French wines, the “Espace de France”, organized by SOPEXA. To enable those interested to immerse themselves deeper in the individual regions, the respective joint stands are offering a broadly structured tasting range with specialist introductions by well-known sommeliers.
A special tip this year: for the first time Champagne manufacturers are presenting themselves in Hall 6 with a joint stand.
Among other things author Valentin Brodbecker has published a book on the “Wine as Investment” theme and has concerned himself with the whole spectrum of wines and spirits for over 20 years.
You can find ProWein press photos in our photo database in the “Press Service” section at www.prowein.com.