The wine community was left completely unsurprised this week, as once again, French wine prices soared. Considering that this seems to be an on-going trend, what does this say about the trajectory of the world’s most valued wine market?
French wine has always been expensive, and people have always expected it to be. The country’s excellence for wine is well established, and it’s penchant for superior, quality products such as Champagne, Chateau Latour and Cognac, has made it arguably the most famous wine producing region in the world.
However, prices are rising dramatically, even for France. This month the French government confirmed what the industry has long suspected. This is that wine prices in the continental nation have risen by a staggering 32% between 2012 and 2013.
Yes, that’s right, the price of French wine, on average, has risen by 32% on in the space of a single year. The government has said that this is down to small grape harvests in the country’s key viticulture centres, and that may be, but that doesn’t mean that higher prices won’t have a knock on effect on the world’s most popular wine market.
Specifically, this was detailed in a report that was issued last month by Agreste, a department of the French Ministry of Agriculture. The report further revealed that the average price of wine from an appellation saw an 18% year-on-year increase in the six month period before January 2014. Compared to 2008 – 2012, this is a 25% rise in the price of French wine.
When it comes to specific regions, we get similar results in the ones that have traditionally been most popular with drinkers. Burgundy saw wine prices shoot up 32% in the first half of the year. On a five year average, this represents a 51% rise. Agreste noted that in the Burgundy region, “limited availability” had driven prices up.
The story was similar in perhaps the most famous French wine region (barring Champagne), Bordeaux, home of the world famous Chateau Latour. In Bordeaux, wine prices soared one fifth (20%) on the back of 2013’s notoriously challenging vintage. This was brought about by poor weather, essential in viticulture, and a freak hailstorm in the region’s Entre-deux-Mers appellation.
So it’s clear that circumstances such as changing weather patterns are altering the face of the French wine market. This doesn’t mean that you still can’t get quality luxury French wines for decent prices; we have plenty on the Ideal Wine Company product list!