The vast majority of French wine producers are worried about the performance of their wines on the international stage, a report has revealed.

Exactly 50% of winemakers thought French wines were in crisis and 41% said they were having difficulties. The main reasons for this were cited as foreign competition, falling consumption and tightening legislation – in that order.

Fears for the future are a major worry with 97% of winemakers agreeing that they will have to face increasingly tough international competition. Over 70% see Australia as the main threat to French wines, followed by Spain (41%) and Chile (39%). The producers sited low production costs, less legislative constraints and value for money as the reasons behind New and Old World successes.

As to how the French wine market should react to alter the current situation, the majority thought that ‘getting the message across’ was a priority, followed by legislative changes and improved quality. The youth market is also important: 94% say that to spark growth they must appeal to young consumers.

When asked about the future of their job, 56% of French winegrowers were pessimistic, citing a number of reasons from competition, overproduction and production costs to legislation, low profitability and the flagging economic situation.

In the study, by analysts BVA for French company Vinitech, 405 winemakers from across France were asked multiple questions concerning their job and their perception of French wines internationally.

The study also asked 32 experts in the wine trade similar questions. Although they were more positive with 75% thinking there was a positive future in winemaking, 97% said that the French wine industry is either having difficulties or in crisis.

Written by Oliver Styles