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Beaujolais UK exports jump for second year in a row

Published:  13 October, 2016

Beaujolais exports to the UK have enjoyed a second year of encouraging growth, with volume up 18% and value up 20.9% between July 2015 and July 2016.

According to figures released by Business France, Beaujolais saw one of the biggest growths in volume among the French winemaking regions ahead of Burgundy (+16.8%) and Provence (+16.2%).

In terms of value, Beaujolais came in second, just behind Provence (+29.25), but in front of the Loire Valley (+20.2%) and Burgundy (+13.3%).

This follows the previous year's increase between 2014 and 2015 of 14.4% in volume and 8.9% in value.

According to vintners, this continued uplift matches a current trend towards wines with freshness and food pairing flexibility, with a wave of new winemaking techniques such as longer macerations, the use of indigenous yeasts or cask ageing resulting in more complex Beaujolais styles.

"Beaujolais is a region whose time has come," wine and expert and The Sunday Express columnist, Jamie Goode, said. "A new generation of winegrowers is now making the most of the excellent terroirs in the region, and Gamay is proving to be a great variety to act as a lens for interpreting these soil differences."

Sales of Beaujolais' intermediate category, Beaujolais-Villages AOC, rose 15.7% in volume and 10% in value between July 2015 and 2016.

The top wines of the region - the Crus - are the leading exports, with an increase of 53.3% in volume and 46.5% in value.

Noble Rot's Mark Andrew speculated that a younger generation becoming exposed to Gamay, the region's signature grape, is responsible for the surge in interest.

Beaujolais wasn't saved from completely from the unprecedented frost back in April, with initial reports that the region's yields would be down 23%.

Despite this, winegrowers report that the harvest should be above the five-year average, producing between 700,000 and 800,000 hectolitres.

Like other regions, favourable weather during harvest is expected to be a saving grace for the grapes' quality.

Aurélie Vabre, export manager for Beaujolais Wine, added: "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."