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French wineries trim investment plans – survey

French Wineries are cutting back on capital investments, a new study suggests, even as Bordeaux reaches record levels of exports.

Only 19% of the 239 winemakers and 50 wine cooperatives across France questioned by Vinitech-Sifel said they were planning to invest more than €50,000 over the next two years.

By contrast, nearly one in four of those asked had invested above this amount in the past two years.

Alongside this, as a percentage of sales, investments by the French wineries questioned are set to fall from equivalent to 15.3% of annual sales to 13.6% by 2014.

What investment there is appears to be going into direct sales development, and emanating from winemakers under 35 years of age with a focus on exports outside of Europe.

One striking disparity revealed by the survey was that 65% of winemakers in Acquitaine, which encompasses Bordeaux, export to Asia, compared to 37% across France as a whole.

China is now number one in volume for Bordeaux exports, with 523,000hl, and second in value, with EUR354m. Globally, Bordeaux wine exports are at record levels.

Georges Haushalter, president of the Bordeaux Wine Bureau (CIVB), was quick to point out that exports by value are up 41% year-on-year in Europe, alongside a 21% increase in Asia.

He discounted high exports being purely accountable to the highly priced 2010 vintage. ‘This is a result of sustained hard work across all markets,’ he told decanter.com at a recent CIVB press conference.

Written by Jane Anson in Bordeaux

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