French Wine and Spirits Exports to U.S. Up 22%

Indicates post Iraq recovery in U.S. and loss of market share for Australia.

France's record global sales of wine and spirits in 2006 indicate a post Iraq recovery in the U.S. and a loss of market share for Australia.

French wine and spirit exports to America, struggling in recent years due to New World competition and anti-French sentiment following the U.S. led Iraq invasion, rose 22% in 2006.

According to the Federation des Exportateurs de vins et spiritueux de France (FEVS), globally, annual exports of French wine and spirits were worth 8.74 billion euro in 2006, or the equivalent of 147 Airbus planes, an increase of almost 13% on 2005.

The United States was at the top of the export table, taking 2.4 billion euro of French wine and spirits, a 22.2% increase on 2005. The UK was second, taking 1.5 billion euro, up 8.2%.

"Post 9/11 anti French sentiment has been receding since 2003," said U.S.-based Patrick Merrill of Merrill Research. "Up to then you could hear people saying, 'I¹ll buy anything but French.'"

In particular the French appear to be gaining ground at the expense of the Australians. Twelve years ago, France had 26% of the U.S. market, by volume, and the Australians only 6%.

The figures in 2005, post 9/11 and the Iraq invasion, changed significantly to show France holding only 12% of the market, and Australia falling back to 31%.

The 2006 figures show France creeping back up to a 14%, and Australia falling back to 29%.

Driving the 1.3 billion euro of wine exports to the U.S. in 2006 was Bordeaux, which showed a 49.6% increase thanks to sales of the 2003 vintage.

Spirits exports to the U.S., France¹s number one market, were just over one billion euro, up 26%, with Cognac accounting for half of this.

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