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Bourgogne less impacted by Covid-19 than feared

Published:  19 June, 2020

The Bourgogne Wine Board (BIVB) has recorded an overall dip in exports of 1.8% by volume for the first four months of 2020.

After two “excellent” first months, 2020 was marked by the Covid-19 pandemic but while Bourgogne wines were impacted, this was “less badly than one might have feared”, said the BIVB, also pointing to the Trump tax, Brexit and the unrest in Hong Kong. 

The drop in terms of revenue was more significant, down 7.9% on the same period in 2019, with the trend positive until February. Sales were unsurprisingly hit hard in March and April when the on-trade was shuttered across many key export markets.

The UK, the second biggest export market for Bourgogne wines after the US, posted modest growth of 3.4% by volume, but a 10% fall in terms of revenue. 

The volume growth was mainly driven by Régionale Mâcon white appellations (up 34% by volume and 17% in revenue). 

The volume growth translates to an additional 500,000 bottles sold, almost compensated for the fall in Chablis sales in the UK over the past three years, despite selling for lower prices.

The total exports figures were greatly impacted by the US market (down 17% by volume and 25% in terms of revenue), with sales down by more than one million bottles. 

The impact of a 25% levy was clear, said the BIVB, with the decline having started at the end of 2019. 

Among other export markets that saw major drops were Belgium (down 19% volume), Switzerland (down 22%), mainland China (down 37%), and Hong Kong (down 12%).

However, those markets with a state monopoly fared better: Sweden posted its biggest-ever increase by volume over the first four months (up 38%), with a strong rise in revenue (up 28%); Canada was up 11% by volume on the same period in 2019, with a 15% jump in revenue. 

For its part, Japan recorded a 22% increase, partially thanks to the Chablis and Petit Chablis appellations which were up 2% by volume over the first four months, with an 18% rise in revenue.

At the beginning of this year, BIVB signed up as a WSET patron.