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Live report from the France Summit 2013

Published:  22 October, 2013

The darling of the UK market, France, is being celebrated today at St Ermin's Hotel in London, with players in all channels coming together to discuss the importance and future of the UK's favourite wine-producing country.

This morning's debate at the France Summit 2013 opened with some staggering statistics on the importance of French wines in the UK market, both in the on and off-trade. Total sales in volume for French wines reached  £717 million in the off-trade, according to Tim Wilson from the Wilson Drinks Report, one of the speakers at today's summit.

France absolutely dominates the on-trade market in the UK, with an average of 40% of the wines offered on a UK white wine list being from France, 42% of red wines and an overwhelming 74% on the sparkling wine list being from France. France is a force to be reckoned with in the UK on-trade.

Despite these figures, France does have some ever-increasing competition in the market, with both Italy and Spain making leaps in terms of total volume sales in the UK market and gaining ground. "The tipping point, so to speak, came in 2011" said Wilson, which is when Italian wines overtook French wines in volume sales in the UK. Spain is on track to overtake both countries in terms of value in the next couple years, should the current growth tends continue, speculated Wilson.

Despite the changing climate of the UK market France still remains a critical player.