Record annual exports of French wine and spirits were announced today (20 February) by the Federation des Exportateurs de vins et spiritueux de France (FEVS).

The FEVS said export revenues had leapt almost 13% to EUR8.7bn (US$11.4bn) last year. The federation noted that the value of French wine and spirits exports in 2006 was the equivalent of 147 Airbus planes.

Champagne drove the buoyant exports, with sales up almost 15% to EUR2.1bn. Spirits sales jumped 16.4% to EUR2.6bn, with Cognac accounting for almost half of sales. The FEVS said wine exports rose almost 10% in value terms to EUR3.9bn.

The US was the leading export market for French spirits producers and vintners, with shipments there up 22.2% on 2005.

Exports to China showed the biggest single increase, soaring 44.8% to EUR101m.