Burgundy White Wine Exports to China Surge

Exports of Bourgogne white wines to mainland China and Hong Kong surged last year, a development that BIVB President Laurent Delaunay described as norm-busting for a market traditionally dominated by red wines.

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Exports of Bourgogne white wines to mainland China and Hong Kong surged last year, a development that BIVB President Laurent Delaunay described as norm-busting for a market traditionally dominated by red wines.

While overall Bourgogne exports declined by 6% in volume last year, aligning with the 10-year average, the region still sold over 87 million bottles in 2023, mirroring the export levels of the past decade, according to BIVB data.

White wine sales have remained strong, with exports of Bourgogne whites accounting for 64% of the overall export volume.

In traditionally red-favouring markets, white wines are making inroads. Delaunay, speaking to Vino Joy News during Vinexpo Asia in Hong Kong, noted significant growth in mainland China and Hong Kong, where exports of Chablis and Petit Chablis jumped by 89% in volume and 71.2% in value. Additionally, exports of Macon saw a remarkable increase of 130% in volume.

“For both markets, that’s surprising because we have always believed that especially China favoured mostly red wines. It seems that the white wines, including relatively entry-level ones like Macon Village and Chablis, performed exceptionally well,” he said.

Hong Kong currently ranks as Burgundy’s fourth-largest market, valued at 96.5 million euros, while mainland China is seventh at 65.6 million euros. Combined, these markets constitute Bourgogne’s third-largest export market, trailing only behind the US and UK.

Regarding the 2022 Bourgogne En Primeur campaign that began earlier this year, Delaunay expressed relief at the optimism among the wine trade and consumers. The 2022 vintage shows promise due to its exceptional quality and volume.

In addition to its quality, the 2022 Bourgogne en primeur is noted for its reasonable pricing. Unlike Bordeaux, where top estates have faced criticism for aggressive pricing strategies, Burgundy’s top domains have kept their price increases minimal, with some opting to freeze or even reduce prices.

“This approach is not just good; it’s necessary,” Delaunay emphasised on the pricing strategy. “I have one motto: be reasonable. There’s a famous French expression: ‘trees don’t grow up to the sky’.”

“One of the main differences [between Bordeaux and Burgundy]—of course, there are many—is that Bordeaux has traditionally been viewed almost as two separate markets: the market for grand cru classe wines and the market for the rest, particularly the entry-level wines,” said Delaunay when comparing the two main French wine regions.

He elaborated on how this division has contributed to the region’s current challenges of wine glut and uprooting of vines: “In Bordeaux, it was not the same players, not the same people, and not the same market dynamics, which has likely led to the significant difficulties Bordeaux is facing now with En Primeur – Especially with the entry-level wines.”

 

Source: Vino Joy

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