Wine exports from France's Rhône Valley exceeded 1m hectolitres for first time last year, according to figures from trade body Inter-Rhône.

The organisation, which earlier this week released details of a marketing push in the US, said yesterday (11 March) that exports from the region hit 1.03m hectolitres in 2013, a 5% increase on 2012. In value terms, exports rose by just over 8% in the year, to almost EUR459m (US$636.4m).

The biggest market outside of France for Rhône Valley wines by volume last year was Belgium, which imported  203,000 hectolitres, a rise of 12%. The UK saw imports inch up by 1% to 188,200 hectolitres, while the US posted a 10% jump to 146,000 hectolitres.

In value terms, export sales to the UK increased by 10% on the previous year, reflecting price increases that have been introduced in the market since 2010, when two-thirds of sales in the supermarket channel had been for wines priced at less than GBP5 per bottle. Inter-Rhône said.

Last year's harvest in the Rhône was down by 13%, the association said, at 2.5m hectolitres.