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Published:  23 July, 2008

By Jack Hibberd

The value of exports of Bordeaux wines for the eight months to the end of October 2004 fell by almost a quarter, year on year. The figures, supplied by agency UbiFrance, showed a 12% drop in total volume and a 24% drop in total value, with the figures for the lucrative UK and US markets showing even bigger falls. The UK imported 208,000 hectolitres of wine in the period, 24% down on 2003, with the value figure down by 33%. The US market which has the highest average bottle price of any major market at E9.55 recorded an enormous 58% drop by value and a 34% drop in volume, moving it from the second most valuable market to the fourth. The UK remains top by value and third by volume. The largest market by volume, Belgium, was the only major market to see an increase, with exports increasing 3% by both volume and value, although the average price per bottle in Belgium for Bordeaux remained low at just E3.27. The respective figure for the UK was E4.79. The bright spot for Bordeaux was its sales to the Far East. Japan (the fifth largest market for claret) posted only a small reduction of 4%, while Hong Kong (+44% by value), Singapore (+12% by value) and China (+39% by value) all proved strong growth markets, albeit from small bases. A spokesperson for the Conseil Interprofessionnel des Vins de Bordeaux said it should be noted that the figures were in comparison to 2004 'which was rather a good year, especially in the US markets, because of shipments of the very sought-after 2000 vintage. 'We also have to take into account the fact that 2000 and 2001 were vintages with big volumes, whereas 2002 and 2003 were much smaller crops. As well as increased competition from other markets, the strength of the euro made French products very expensive to countries outside the euro zone.'