French wines and spirits exports will fall 20% in value this year, trade body Fédération des Exportateurs de Vins et Spiritueux (FEVS) has said.

FEVS' forecast came as it announced exports fell 30% in the first quarter of 2009, against a 2008 first quarter bolstered by high prices for Bordeaux grands crus 2005.

FEVS spokesman Renaud Gaillard told just-drinks today (4 June) that only China and Hong Kong had not reported declines.

"Our major exports markets are the UK and the US, where the he economic crisis has been most keenly felt. The knock-on effect on shipments of Champagne, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Côtes du Rhône wines and Cognac has been significant."

Importers and wholesalers continue to run down their stocks and it probably won't be until the end of the year/early 2010 before we begin to see to a marked pick-up in orders," he added.