Bordeaux: Good News at Last!
by Andrew Chalk
Bordeaux has certainly received more than its share of bad news in the last few years. From frosts, to mildew, to ODing on copper sulphate in a rush into organic viticulture, to going uncool, to economic recession in the EU. It seemed that only the most expensive wines, those called classified growths and their equivalents, could sell with reasonable impunity.
Now, at what some people will consider the most unlikely time, 2021, the heart of a pandemic, Bordeaux releases some really good news. Sales in the US market increased 67% by value over 2020. Full press release below...
FROM THE WIRES...
BORDEAUX REPORTS HISTORIC 67% ANNUAL U.S. SALES INCREASE
— Bordeaux wine sales reached historic highs in 2021, driven by strong consumer demand across appellations and styles; U.S. is the second largest export market for all Bordeaux wines and the first export destination for Bordeaux whites —
BORDEAUX, FRANCE March 14, 2022 — Bordeaux producers are feeling optimistic about the U.S. wine market. The Bordeaux Wine Council (C.I.V.B.) reports that year-end 2021 sales of Bordeaux wines in the U.S. increased 67% in value to peak at $395 million (349 million euros), and 24% in volume to reach 247,000 HL as compared to 2020. The 2021 results represented the highest volume sales increase of Bordeaux wines to the U.S. over a 12-month period since 1985.
The United States was the second largest export market for Bordeaux wines, by volume and value. The recognition of quality and affordability of the 2018 and 2019 Bordeaux wine vintages, as well as the suspension of the 25% tariffs on French wines contributed to the acceleration of Bordeaux wine sales and bodes well for the future. These strong business results coincide with new benchmarks in sustainability: as of fall 2021, more than 75% of Bordeaux vineyards are certified sustainable, an all-time high which has driven positive trade and consumer recognition.
“We are thrilled with our sales results in the U.S.,” said Bernard Farges, President of the Bordeaux Wine Council (C.I.V.B.) “It is a credit to the people of Bordeaux and our many U.S. partners to have overcome recent challenges and create opportunity for growth across such a wide range of Bordeaux wines.”
The strong growth reveals sustained momentum for the Bordeaux category in the U.S. wine market. Upward sales trends have impacted 65 of Bordeaux’s diverse AOCs (Appellations d’Origine Contrôlées), and all wine styles: reds, dry whites, rosé, sweet, and sparkling wines. While red wines remain the most prominent category, dry white Bordeaux wines have become increasingly popular: the U.S. is now the number one market for dry white Bordeaux, representing 5.2 million bottles in annual sales. Overall, American consumers have supported growth across a wide range of Bordeaux wines ranging from more affordable, everyday selections to classified growths from prestige AOCs such as Médoc (Pauillac, St. Estèphe, Saint Julien, Margaux), Graves and Saint-Émilion.
To support positive trends, the Bordeaux wine region is committed to continuing investment in dynamic U.S. marketing and education campaigns that support increased consumer and trade awareness, including outreach to young consumers and buyers who place a high value on sustainability.