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Brexit threatens French wine exports

Bottles of Bordeaux on display at La Vinothèque de Bordeaux.
Bottles of Bordeaux on display at La Vinothèque de Bordeaux. RFI/Agnieszka Kumor

Brexit is already taking a visible toll on the wine trade between France and the UK. The falling pound was tipped to see prices of French wine's rise by up to eight percent in the UK - and put a serious dent in wine-lover's purchasing power.

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French wine dealers say the effects of Brexit and plummeting pound are being felt from Burgundy to Bordeaux.

One example of this can be seen during the annual en primeur campaign in Bordeaux, when major châteaux offer their 2015 vintage up to local négociants, who then sell it to international merchants - ahead of the actual bottling.

En primeur trading

Pablo Huart, the director of Le Cercle by Vintage & Cie, an upmarket wine cellar on the rue Saint Honoré in Paris, says Brexit is adding to the already deflated trade.

“It’s really recent and we’ve started to see a reaction among wine professionals we work with … there’s lots of uncertainty. Nobody really knows what’s going to happen,” he says.

Bargain basement wines

Huart says while many in France and elsewhere are rushing to buy cut-price wines from English merchants, in France too export prices are being dampened.

“I know many merchants have been avoiding going to the En Primeur campaign, some properties are having difficulties selling all their wines – in contrast to other years. Already many merchants were buying smaller quantities of Bordeaux wines – and now with the UK leaving Europe, the climate for business is very uncertain.”

The UK might give any rise in French wine prices a Gallic shrug ... The increasingly confident British wine industry intends to increase its wine exports tenfold by 2020.

 

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