Exports of Bordeaux wines rose 9 percent by volume to nearly 2.4 million hectolitres and 16 percent by value to 2.3 billion euros last year, due partly to a bullish Asian market. The surge in export shipments had an obvious knock-on effect on prices with average payments for a 900-litre barrel topping the 1,000-euro mark. Despite such healthy growth, CIVB chair Georges Haushalter warned the industry not to rest on its laurels. “The picture is not all bright”, said Haushalter at the board’s AGM this week. “We have to work hard to reverse the slightly negative trend in the French market which is where almost 60 percent of our wines are sold”.
One of the tacks chosen by the board to improve sales and prices in France is to promote greater consolidation amongst co-operative wineries. By reducing the number of co-ops and making the remaining wineries more efficient, the CIVB hopes to put a curb on price speculation. It is also encouraging co-operatives and shipping firms to sign long-term procurement agreements for the same reason. The agreements would guarantee sales for co-operatives at fixed prices whilst ensuring supplies for shipping firms, enabling them to build brands. Another aspect of the CIVB’s blueprint for future development involves tackling the issue of counterfeit Bordeaux, particularly in export markets. “Innovative” proposals are expected to be presented over the next few months.
As a marketing board, the CIVB’s main priority, however, is obviously promotion. Despite a shortfall in European funding this year, the CIVB is tapping into its reserve fund in order to maintain an annual budget of 28 million euros, making it by far the largest of all French marketing boards in terms of spend. “Bordeaux will continue its promotion efforts in non-European countries whilst downscaling activities in other markets until European funding returns in 2014”, said the CIVB. A quarter of the overall budget will be spent on domestic promotion, including a sizeable chunk of 1.5 million euros for rosés, a key growth area for Bordeaux.