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Burgundy wines bounce back

It was sudden, severe, and its effects were felt worldwide. Yet Burgundy wines can justifiably speak of the financial crisis in the past tense, having bounced back in all their export markets in 2010. In 12 months, shipments of Burgundy wines were up by 16% compared to 2009. They have not yet returned to the record levels of 2007, but are climbing, slowly and surely, back up to their peak. In parallel, the French market, which held up well during the crisis, is experiencing renewed growth, through supermarket sales in particular. 

With 200 million bottles produced each year on some 28,000 hectares, Burgundy (3% of the French vineyard) is, in terms of volume, a small vineyard in the wider world of wine. Its challenge is not so much selling its wines, but rather maximising their potential in line with global demand. This is illustrated by the fact that, despite over three years of international economic stagnation, in-store stocks have remained relatively low. 

Furthermore, the significant up-turn in shipments recorded in 2010, during a still uncertain period, demonstrates once again that Burgundy’s reputation is firmly rooted among wine lovers all around the world. Better still, it is growing in emerging markets. This is one of the key revelations of recent campaigns: Asia is in the process of becoming one of the primary markets for Burgundy wines. The American market has also recovered strongly, with increases in value of 23% in the USA and 29% in Canada. In the United Kingdom, the recovery in value (+16%) is taking place at a slower pace than growth in volume (+21%) in a market context of continuing price sensitivity. 

These good results bear out the approaches adopted by the Burgundy Wine Board (BIVB) in its plan “Bourgogne Amplitude 2015”, seeking to promote Burgundy, as well as to defend it as a brand by maximising the potential of all Burgundy wine appellations, Regional appellations in particular, and ensuring irreproachable levels of quality. It is a question, among other things, of maintaining strong links with some of the most innovative markets. 

1 April 2011 - Felicity Murray