Growth in the French wine market is set to continue its recovery following a dramatic drop to 3.5% in 2011, with forecasters predicting the sector to reach a value of US$27222.4 million by 2017.
French wine is produced all throughout France, in quantities between 50 and 60 million hectolitres per year, or 7-8 billion bottles. France is the largest wine producer in the world.
French wine traces its history to the 6th century BC, with many of France's regions dating their wine-making history to Roman times. The wines produced range from expensive high-end wines sold internationally to more modest wines usually only seen within France.
The French wine industry is increasingly focusing on grape type, rather than region of production, as a key factor in marketing to boost wine sales and resist competition. In a country with a proud wine tradition, the shift is not easy.
The French wine industry -- a source of national revenue and pride -- is changing to adapt to a globalised market, with labeling practices the latest focus of professionals in the field.
Whereas France has historically considered its wines to be products of various regions (Burgundy, Bordeaux, Médoc), other major wine markets frequently market wines as products of specific grape types (Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet, or Malbec, among many others).
France has traditionally been the largest consumer of its own wines. However, wine consumption has been dropping in France for 40 years. During the decade of the 1990s, per capita consumption dropped by nearly 20 percent.
Therefore, French wine producers must rely increasingly on foreign markets. However, consumption has also been dropping in other potential markets such as Italy, Spain and Portugal.
The result has been a continuing wine glut, often called the wine lake. This has led to the distillation of wine into industrial alcohol as well as a government program to pay farmers to pull up their grape vines through vine pull schemes. A large part of this glut is caused by the re-emergence of Languedoc wine.
For more information on the French wine market, see the latest research: French Wine Market
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