FRANCE: Winemakers far from festive as exports plunge
French wine faces a bleak 2009 after exports fell by 15% in volume and 12% in value in October, the industry's export body has warned.
The October figures are the latest from France's Fédération des Exportateurs de Vins et Spiritueux (FEVS), which says the global economic slowdown is starting to bite hard.
FEVS assistant general secretary, Renaud Gaillard, told just-drinks today (23 December): "While we don't yet have figures for November, the feedback we have from our members and their customers is that last month was worse than October.
"Normally, shipments during these two months, especially November, are buoyed by orders generated by the Christmas and New Year festivities, but this year it just hasn't happened."
As for 2009, Gaillard said that all visibility has gone from the market.
"Importers and distributors are running down their stocks rather than renewing them. There are extreme downward pressures on prices while producers and traders are worried about the financial implications of maintaining relatively high stock levels. We're in a very difficult period."
Wine exports for the first nine months of 2008 rose 3.7% in value, but were artificially boosted by high prices for top Bordeaux wines, the FEVS said.
Laurent-Perrier, which this week reported full-year sales down 27%, has defended its decision to raise prices for its Champagne as many of its key markets faced recession....
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