French wine and spirits exports slid 25% by value in the first half of 2009, trade body Fédération des Exportateurs de Vins et Spiritueux (FEVS) has said.

Exports slipped to EUR3.28bn for the six months to the end of June, affecting all product categories, FEVS said.

Champagne, often the driving force behind exports, fell  45.2% in value and 41.1% in volume, while another leading product, Cognac, was down 26.6% in value and  28.4% in volume.

"As we anticipated, the first part of 2009 has been very difficult for wines and spirits exports after record years," says FEVS president Claude de Jouvencel.

"Given that the second half of the year traditionally accounts for the major part of our annual sales, there's reason to hope that there will be a stabilisation in current trends - comparison being drawn with the end of 2008 which was already on a downward curve," he added.