French wine exports rose 0.7% in value terms in the first half of the year but volumes fell by almost 3% in volume, a report from France's Foreign Trade Office shows.

Values were maintained for Champagne exports in the first half of 2003. There has been sustained demand for Champagne over the past year following two years in the doldrums and a stock wipe-off.

Still appellation wines (VQPRD), which had resisted well until now, saw a 9.6% dip in volumes while values were down 0.3% Only Bordeaux reds came out of the period satisfactorily thanks to shipments of the 2000 vintage, the report notes.

All other producer regions recorded falls in exports that exceeded 10%, the exception being Languedoc-Roussillon wines.

In contrast to table wines, exports of country wines held up well, especially those of Oc, Aude, Herault and Gard benefitting from the buoyant UK consumer market.

The first six months of 2003 saw strong growth in exports to the main markets for French wines - the UK, Switzerland and Italy. But trade with northern Europe, Japan, Canada and the US was in sharp decline.