Price increases have helped middle market vins de pays wine sales in France over the last year, despite poor summer weather hampering volumes.

Supermarket wine sales by volume fell 0.6% from September 2007 to August 2008, due to a slight drop in rosé wine sales, according to Viniflhor, France's national wine agency.

However, sales by value rose 3.2% to EUR3.2bn, due to general price increases, it said.

Increased sales of wines with the grape variety on the label and in the mid to low-priced 'vins de pays' category rose by 5.7% in volume, and 9.3% in value.

Another success was a 17.8% increase for Bag-in-Box volumes.

For the first six months of 2008, Viniflhor also recorded a 9.3% increase by value in imports of low-end wines, mainly from European neighbours.

Meanwhile, sales of top French wines via supermarkets have struggled this year, according to the industry. "The market for wines costing more than EUR50 per bottle has collapsed," said Guillaume Halley, director of the Champion retail chain in Bordeaux.