Blog: Chris Brook-CarterGallic shrug-off

Chris Brook-Carter | 22 October 2003

If you noticed the daily email go out late yesterday it was because I had to rush back from a luncheon meeting in Essex along the M25 and got caught up in the usual traffic and road works. The timeout, however, with the entire board of the global beverage shipper and logistics company Hillebrand was well spent and offered an interesting insight into a part of the industry I have not had as much contact with as other areas in the past. There'll be a full interview among next week's content with CEO Gerard Desbois.
Being right at the coalface of the industry, Hillebrand gave a very interesting perspective of the wine market.

Inevitably conversation got round to the health of the US market, where, Hillebrand says, volumes continue to be buoyant, even if consumers are still trading down. However, what struck me most was Debois' comments over the state of French exports to the country. The immediate impact of France's objections to the Iraq war and the subsequent boycott on French products, he said, had blown over. However, the French wine industry would continue to suffer from the long term damage done, he believed, which includes not just the physical drop in sales but also the immeasurable impact of consumers trying and seeking alternatives to French wine.

It is of course a situation that mirrors the boycott of French wines in Scandinavia following the nuclear testing by the French government in the South Pacific, a course of action that introduced consumers to wines from other countries and is still costing French wine dear.

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