The Burgundy Wine Bureau (BIVB) has reported record export sales of €214.5 million in the period between January and April 2013, signifiying a return of sales figure heights last seen in the 2008-2009 campaign.
Michel Baldassini, vice president of the BIVB, told trade paper La Vigne that the figures are not just because of strong performances in export markets, but because a series of small vintages has put pressure on stocks.
Red Burgundy in 2012-1013 was down 13% in volume compared with the year before. At the same time, export markets are up 4.3% in volume and 0.7% in value, with particularly strong sales in the US. The French market for Burgundy is up even more strongly (5% in volume and 6% in value).
The only areas that have seen a drop in demand are the Crémant de Bourgogne sparkling wine (down 2.4%), and the market for bulk wines (down 19% for the 2012 harvest – explained by the severe drop in overall volume of wine).
This volume drop has meant severe pressure on prices. By appellation, AOC Gevrey Chambertin bulk prices have gone up by 41% to €1544 by 228 litre barrel (known as a pièce, and a different measurement from much of France, where bulk wine is measured by tonneau of 900 litres).
AOC Pommard is up 64% to €1331 per barrel and AOC Chablis up 22% to €499 by barrel. Even a barrel of AOC Bourgone rouge is up 30% to €353.
‘We have to hope for a normal volume of wine this vintage, or consumers will suffer,’ warned Baldassini.
‘We have seen our clients move strongly from Bordeaux to Burgundy since the start of the year,’ Alice Wong of LMC wine merchants in Hong Kong told decanter.com. ‘Not just the big names, but small producers also. This is what people want to drink right now.’
Written by Jane Anson