Winegrowers and buyers from around the world are gathered in Paris for the Wine Paris & Vinexpo trade show, where French producers hope to multiply contracts to sell less popular bottles at home (AFP / Archives / STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN)
Winegrowers and buyers from around the world are gathered until Wednesday in Paris for the first major trade show of the year, Wine Paris & Vinexpo, where French producers hope to multiply contracts to sell less popular bottles at home.
From the inauguration of the show at 10 a.m., traders, wine merchants and restaurateurs clinked glasses and uncorked bottles from around fifty countries, mainly from Europe but also from the United States, Japan and Chile, on the 31,000 square meters of exhibition space at the Porte de Versailles.
“Our objective is that the maximum number of commercial transactions take place or are initiated, so that the world – and French – trade in wines and spirits is doing well”, explained to AFP, Rodolphe Lameyse, director general of the organizer Vinexposium.
“We have a situation in France where the domestic consumption of wines and spirits seems to be falling and, for winegrowers, export is the solution”, underlined the Minister of Foreign Trade, Olivier Becht.
Second world producer behind Italy in 2022, France combines indeed a drop in consumption and more structural difficulties in certain vineyards, such as Bordeaux.
“Some (markets) are opening up thanks to new agreements that have been signed, I am thinking of New Zealand. We also have negotiations underway with Australia, perhaps with India ( …) this is good news for winegrowers,” Becht added.
Like last year, French terroirs and vineyards are represented in three pavilions. A fourth is devoted to wines from around the world and, new this year, beers and spirits have their own hall, bringing the total number of exhibitors to nearly 3,400.
Some 30,000 professionals are expected at the show, which is being held at a “pivotal moment” in the purchasing calendar, according to Mr. Lameyse.
– To reach the mark –
French exports of wines and spirits generated more than 18 billion euros in turnover in 2022, up 12% compared to 2021, in particular thanks to champagne, according to the Ministry of Foreign Trade.
The sector thus remains the leading exporter of agrifood, and the second largest trade surplus in France, after aeronautics and ahead of cosmetics.
But behind these good figures, the French vineyard has suffered a whole series of crises: Trump taxes in 2019, Covid-19 pandemic, disastrous vintage in 2021 due to climatic calamities… Added to this in 2022 is inflation. and soaring production costs, from energy to packaging.
For the sector to “pass this difficult course”, “we must help it to meet the economic challenges”, defended Monday the Minister of Agriculture Marc Fesneau, who had recognized at the end of January that the situation in the vineyard French was “serious”.
To prevent wine prices from falling too much, the State has agreed to finance a campaign to transform (“distill”) tens of millions of liters of surpluses into perfume or hydroalcoholic gel.
“We are in the process of refining a certain number of devices, including in the uprooting”, added the minister, the winegrowers of the Bordeaux region claiming aid to uproot excess vines.
In supermarkets, the first prices have fallen and red wines are particularly struggling, with sales which have fallen by 15% in 2022 (AFP/Archives/STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN)
In supermarkets, the first prices have fallen and red wines are particularly struggling, with sales which have fallen by 15% in 2022.
In France, moreover, nearly one out of two wine consumers is 55 and over, according to a study carried out in April by the firm IWSR and Wine Intelligence among a thousand people.
The vineyard “is at a crossroads: you have to have real strategies, make the products more attractive for young consumers. Some regions are doing well, but for others the awakening is particularly painful”, estimated M Lameyse.
French wine must also export more to save itself: “There is no fatality and I think that with our fair, we have a role to play in responding to this upheaval.”
© 2023 AFP
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