French wine and spirits exports declined last year, damaged by a marked slowdown in the final quarter, according to trade body the Fédération des Exportateurs de Vins et Spiritueux (FEVS).

Still wine exports fell 10.5% by volume for the year, FEVS said, adding that value sales rose by 4.7%, but this was largely a result of high prices negotiated on shipments of Bordeaux grands crus 2005 in the first half.

Spirits exports decreased 3.8% in volume and 3.5% in value, hit by a decline in Cognac exports after several years of uninterrupted growth.

Value sales of wine and spirits combined slipped by 0.3%, compared to 2007.

FEVS president Claude de Jouvencel told just-drinks today (20 February) that a sharp deterioration in exports in the last quarter of 2008 is likely to set the tone for 2009, however.