Loire Wines strengthen their glowing reputation06-06-2017
Continuing to gain ground year on year in export markets, Loire wines are not about to stop there.
InterLoire – a showcase for Loire wines
Loire wines are flying high, driven by an entire region’s tireless commitment to improving wine quality, not forgetting the collective organisations working to boost the image of its appellations. Take InterLoire for example: the Interprofession des Vins de Loire, the regional wine trade body whose headquarters are located in Tours, unifies the regions of Nantes, Anjou, Saumur and Touraine, encompassing some 50 appellations and denominations spanning 38,000 hectares of vines. 2,700 growers, 200 negociants and 16 cooperatives unite under the InterLoire umbrella, together responsible for a total average annual production of around 2,000,000 hl.
InterLoire, part of France’s third largest wine region, is tasked with driving the economy of the wine sector, promoting Loire wines, and research & wine development.
Export success across the entire colour spectrum
A sure sign of the region’s dynamism, exports continue to go from strength to strength in key markets. The Loire saw 452,000hl of AOP wines exported in the first four months of 2017* compared to the same period last year; reaching 60 million bottles, which is a slight 4% drop in volume, but up 6% in value to reach 258 million euros, making this a record over the last 5-year period. In fact, 1 in 5 bottles of Loire wine is now consumed outside France. Sparkling wines from the Loire are playing a significant role in driving and promoting not only exports of Loire wines, but also other French sparkling wines (excluding Champagne). The leading sparklers – Cremant de Loire, Saumur and Vouvray – rose by 16% in volume and 26% in value.
Still wines from the Loire have seen an increase in volume and in value, which compares favourably to other French AOP wines, which remain stable. This applies to Loire red, white and rosé categories. The growth in white wines – where exports account for 60% in volume and 67% in value – is driven by the three top performers: Touraine (up 22% in volume and in value), Muscadet and Vouvray. In the rosé category while volume sales of rosé d’Anjou and Cabernet d’Anjou show a slight 4% decline, in value sales are up 3% compared to the previous year. Loire reds are up 2% in volume and 8% in value, largely as a result of impressive performances from Chinon, Touraine, Saumur and Saumur-Champigny.
The rise of the US market
The Loire’s no. 1 export market in both volume and value, the US continues to see positive growth, representing one-tenth of total volume and value sold in 2016. Red, white and rosé wines have all benefitted from this uplift, notably Touraine, Cremant and Vouvray. The UK, the Loire’s second largest market in volume and value, is largely responsible for driving export growth, with an increase essentially driven by white wine (Muscadet and Touraine) and sparkling categories. Germany, in 3rd place, saw a 9% uplift in volume and 14% in value in 2016. A key market for Loire Cremant, AOP wines continue to gain ground on the German market, opening the door for appellations such as Touraine, Saumur sparkling and Rosé d’Anjou.
A whole host of initiatives to boost the visibility of individual estates
Throughout the year InterLoire organises events in international markets to promote a wide range of Loire wines. Last April, New York, Chicago and San Francisco took part in the 4th edition of “Spring to Loire”. At a tasting of 360 AOP and PGI Loire wines, importers, journalists, bloggers and other key influencers enjoyed the rich diversity of Loire wines and attended a series of highly informative themed masterclasses.
Meanwhile, London is in the spotlight, all set to welcome Loire wines at London Wine Week, 5-11 June, and now in its fourth instalment. This week-long, wine-centric event showcases hundreds of different wines at various events and dinners scheduled in the heart of London. InterLoire, the event’s official partner, will host a number of major “Loire Moments” events across various venues, including specialist wine shops, restaurants and wine bars, reaching 10,000 consumers. Activities include wine tastings, food and wine pairing and a stand-out Loire Valley Wines branded bar.
*French customs 2017