A few months ago, French media reported that the supply of Burgundy wines was running low. Louis Latour, as the Revue du Vin de France reported as an example, is completely sold out even with its basic Bourgogne Blanc. The trading house, founded in 1797, sells about 10 million bottles a year, and a very large proportion of this is probably the white Burgundy of the simple regional AOC. When such a wine is no longer available, the significance of this for the market as a whole cannot be overestimated.
Exports to the US rise 45 percent
Now, the traders' association Fédération des négociants-éleveurs de Grande Bourgogne (FNEB) has published its export statistics for 2021, and the figures are remarkable: The revenue from all wines sold abroad was higher than ever last year, amounting to €1.3 billion. It represented a 28% increase on the previous year and a 27% rise on 2019. Individual markets have gone through the roof, in particular the US with a 45% jump.
Albéric Bichot, president of the FNEB, attributes the strong growth to the after effects of the Covid pandemic. For example, many people have been able to afford wine more often due to Covid restrictions, and thus more expensive brands and origins. In addition, in the US, the punitive tariffs on French wine imposed by former president Donald Trump were lifted last year.
Frost year of 2021 cuts supply
The market's bull run comes at a time when supply has been cut by the disastrous 2021 year. Averaged over the whole of Burgundy, the losses due to the late frosts in April 2021 amount to between 30% and 50%, according to the Bureau Interprofessionnel des Vins de Bourgogne (BIVB). The worst losses in volume terms are in Chablis and Macon (minus 50%), as well as in the white wines of the Côte de Beaune (minus 70 to 80%).
It is easy to forecast where the combination of a strong increase in demand and an equally big supply shortage will lead: to further price increases – and by no means only at the level of famous domains and classified sites.
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