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Beaujolais exports boom boosted by entry-level

Published:  12 April, 2018

Exports of Beaujolais boomed in the past year boosted by the entry-level category.

In 2017, overall exports of wine from the region rose 21% in value on volumes up 24% compared to the previous year, second only to Provence and SW France, according to the latest data released by BusinessFrance.

The entry-level category put in a particular impressive performance, with value sales up 84% and volume by 55%, according to the new data, which also revealed a 10% value surge for the Crus alongside a 7% volume increase.

The overall value increase for the region, which builds on recent years' continued growth, could in part be attributed to an increased appreciation of Gamay, as Beaujolais had seen itself become established as a fine wine region, said wine writer and author, Jamie Goode.

“There is renewed interest in Gamay worldwide as it is now seen as a top quality red variety, capable of producing nuanced, elegant wines – and Beaujolais is the heartland of Gamay,” he said.

The region is also widely believed to have benefitted from improvement in the quality of farming, which has led to improvement in the quality of grapes, and therefore better wines.

Adam Bruntlett, Beaujolais and Burgundy buyer at Berry Brothers & Rudd (BBR) and FMV, said the increase was due to an “emergence of young, exciting winemakers, often working organically and with low sulphur addition, making wines ‘on the edge’ with real character that often appeal to younger drinkers”.

In addition, Bruntlett said some Burgundy customers were “simply priced-out and looking for value”.

“The 2016 vintage was the first we included Cru Beaujolais in Berry Burgundy offer and we were delighted with the results. The act of putting them alongside the best names of Burgundy gave a message that these are serious wines, and they didn’t look out of place at all,” he said.

In overseas markets, the US also posted healthy results, with a progression of 12% in value and 7% in volume, putting it in front of Japan, while China has for the first time entered the top five export markets, up by 8.2% in volume and 15% in value, overtaking Belgium in terms of volume.

The figures were release ahead of this year’s Bien Boire en Beaujolais wine fair, which takes place 15th – 16th April at Château de Pizay, Château de Corcelles and Château des Ravatys showcasing 220 growers.