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LWF: Inter Rhône reveals “promising” first quarter UK export trends

Published:  21 May, 2019

Inter Rhône has revealed a “very promising” start to 2019 with preliminary data showing export sales to the UK near stagnant compared to the double-digit volume drop recorded in 2018.

In the first three months of this year volume sales to the UK were “marginally down” compared to the 11% decrease reported for 2018 (full year to 31 December), Inter Rhône told Harpers.

In the same three-month period, for which the exact figures are still to be confirmed, value sales were also looking promising compared to the 2% drop in 2018, said UK & Northern Europe export marketing manager Caroline Vigneron.

The promising start to 2019 comes on the back of a difficult time for the region and suggested its strategy to “really focus on quality” was starting to pay off, she added.

“Following some quite difficult years, which it has been for all wine making regions with consumption in the UK slowing down and everyone trying to make the best of it, we think the most difficult years are now behind us,” she said.

As a whole, France was “keeping the pace”, she added, with the country one of the only ones to increase export volumes to the UK so far in 2019, she said.

In addition to the ‘quality strategy’, another main focus for the Rhône Valley has been to increase production of white and rosé.

As a result, red wine production has dropped to account for 74% in 2018 from 80% in 2017, with white now accounting for 10% - up from 7%, and rosé increasing from 13% to 16% in the same timeframe.

The UK remains one of the most important export markets for the region, practically level pegging with the US in terms of volume in 2018 at 16% (141 898 hl) of the region’s exports.

With regards to top performers the Luberon and Ventoux appellations both increased significantly in 2018, with 9% of the production of Luberon wine exported to the UK, up from 2% in 2017, and 12% of Ventoux production compared to 7% the previous year.

Remaining the second largest AOC wine region in France, the Rhône Valley produced 2,764,833hl in 2018, a 13% increase compared to 2017.