With gross sales reaching €10.8 billion, 2014 was the third best year in the history French wine and spirit exportations despite a 2.8% reduction in both volume exported and overall revenue, according to the French Federation of Wine and Spirits Exporters. The trade balance came in at €9.5 billion, solidifying wine and spirits as the most profitable agricultural sector.

This performance was achieved in the face of increasingly stiff global competition within the industry as well as a difficult economic and trade environment, which together account for the slight decrease in volume exported (-2.8%) from 2013.

Lower grape harvests since 2012 have affected French wine exports the most severely, dropping 3.3% in 2014 following a similar drop in 2013. But the French wine industry is putting up a noble fight, reporting minor losses of -1.7% from the previous year. Champagne sales, up 7.8%, are responsible for this resilience.

The 5.3% decline in 2014 spirits sales is attributed to a considerable decrease in consumption in the Chinese market. Total volume sold for spirits is slightly lower as well (-1.6%), although Vodka had a high performing year, becoming the number one spirit sold in terms of volume.

In full economic recovery (rebound), the United States have anchored themselves as the number one importer of French wine and spirits, purchasing over 2 billion euros’ (+4% from 2013) worth of products, which represents nearly one fifth of France’s total export revenue. This marks the first time since 2006 that the United States have surpassed sales of €2 billion, suggesting a return to pre-crisis purchasing trends.

©Pascal Xicluna/Min.Agri.Fr

©Pascal Xicluna/Min.Agri.Fr

Some additional facts on export sales of French wine and spirits for 2014:

Total French Wine Export Sales: 7.4 billion euros

The top three exported French wines by percentage of export sales are:

  • Champagne, 32%
  • Bordeaux, 24%
  • Bourgogne, 10%

Total French Spirits Export Sales: 3.3 billion euros

The top three exported French spirits by percentage of export sales are:

  • Cognac, 66%
  • Vodka, 12%
  • Liqueurs, (Cointreau, Triple Sec, Chambord…) 9%