PARIS (Reuters) – Exports of French wines and spirits hit a new record high last year on the back of higher prices, a trend that is expected to continue this year as Chinese consumers return to restaurants and head out to new on a trip, according to the federation of wine and spirits exporters of France (FEVS).

Exports of wines and spirits – the second largest export item for France after aeronautics – reached 17.2 billion euros in 2022, up 10.8%, despite a decline of 3, 8% of volumes linked to low production in 2021 and geopolitical and logistical tensions.

Exports to the United States, France’s leading market for wines and spirits, increased by 14% last year to 4.7 billion euros and now represent more than a quarter of total exports in value .

“The United States confirms its role as a locomotive for French wine and spirits exports,” FEVS president César Giron told Reuters.

Exports to the UK rose 7% in value to 1.7 billion euros, helped by higher prices.

In China, the strict “zero-Covid” policy weighed on wine and spirits exports in the region in 2022 but a rebound is expected in 2023 with the easing of restrictions.

“Since the Chinese New Year in early February (…) restaurants and hotels are full, people want to see each other so I expect a rebound in the coming months in terms of wines and spirits in China”, has said Cesar Giron.

The resumption of travel by the Chinese should also support sales in “duty free”, he adds.

The war in Ukraine has halved exports to Russia, which remains a small market for France, underlines César Giron. The conflict mainly has an indirect effect linked to the rise in the price of energy and the cereals needed to make vodka.

(Written by Sybille de la Hamaïde, Blandine Hénault for the , edited by Kate Entringer)

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