Beaujolais leads new French export drive in to the UK and reports strong 2016 vintage
It seems the UK wine drinkers are falling back in love with French wine, which will a mixture of comfort and frustration to producers reeling from the worst vintage in the country since 2012.
Latest wine export figures from Business France show Beaujolais was up 18% in volume and 20% in value between 2014 and 2015.
Over the last 12 months its Beaujolais-Villages AOC wines have gone up by 15.7% in volume and 10% in value. Crus wines were up 53.3% in volume and a 46% in value.
Elsewhere in France there was also (at last) some good news for Burgundy, up 16.83% in volume and 13.3% in value, and Provence, up 16.2% in volume, and an impressive 30% in value. The Loire also saw a 20.24% jump in value.
There is also good news for Beaujolais winegrowers from the 2016 harvest which is going to be above the average of the last five years producing around 7- 800,000 hectolitres. Quality is also promising thanks to a warm and sunny summer followed by almost perfect weather conditions during harvest.
Aurélie Vabre, export manager for Beaujolais Wines, said: “The UK market is very exciting for Beaujolais at the moment – exports are steadily rising and the region is increasingly acclaimed by the trade. We attend many consumer events around the country, and are constantly surprised at the positive reaction to our wines.”
There is more good news for Beaujolais from the 2016 vintage where it is reporting a harvest of around 750,000 to 800,000 hectolitres, 40% higher than average.
This is despite the difficulties that producers have had to contend with this year, including a relatively late start to the growing season, combined with fickle weather during the spring. But this appears to have had no negative impact on the quality of the 2016 vintage, which is being described as “promising”.
The unreliable spring weather caused difficult conditions for winegrowers in the region, who had to contend with heavy hailstorms which decimated harvests in the second quarter with some 2,200 hectares being affected.
However, the good summer more than compensated for these setbacks, creating ideal ripening conditions, and in the weeks leading up to harvest, the vineyards benefited from the hot, dry weather.
The combination of hot sunny days and cooler nights enabled the grapes to attain optimum maturity, which augurs well for a good vintage.
“The 2016 vintage has a focus on elegance rather than power and maintains perfect balance between acidity, fruit and structure – a combination of freshness and gourmandise,” said Bertrade Chatelet, director of the Sicarex ( the Institute for viticultural and oenological research in Beaujolais).