Although is it not an easy market, Belgium is accessible for French wine

Friday November 08 2013 by Kelsie Adams

Grégory Citerneschi, Ubifrance Export Adviser in Brussels is extremely pleased with how the Belgian market has improved for French wines : « it is going a lot better. The 2008-2009 crisis hit consumption in hotels, restaurants and cafés hard. Now we are seeing a good turnaround for exports in terms of value (+6.5% in 2012 compared to 2011). And this is true even though Belgium is a reselling platform (most notably for Champagnes and Grand Crus) that can sidestep rising figures ». According to Citerneschi, France can celebate regaining 1% of the market share in volume in 2012. «20 years ago French wine represented about 80% of the market. Now it stands at about 60% » due to the development of Spanish, Chilean and Italian wines. « The infatuation with New World wines, particularly in the Flanders region, has started to die down. This is encouraging, particularly seeing as the heart of the 7-12 euro range will be developed in the next few years. It is going well, French wines are well represented within this market ! »


However, French wines still need to invest in the potential of their neighbouring market. As already stated some years ago by Damien de Koninck (Sopexa), this warning still seems to ring true. Even though distant markets are already emerging (starting with China), closer ones seem to be going unnoticed. According to Grégory Citerneschi « if France wants to earn market shares then they need to attack the market in Flanders and consolidate the loyalty of their southern Belgian customers ». In Flanders, wine consumption per capita was more than 15 litres a year in the 1990s and now it is more than 26 litres a year (in the same period of time wine consumption in Brussels and Wallonia dropped from 37 to 26 litres a year.) More generally, Grégory Citerneschi states that Belgium « is not an easy market, but it is accessible. Belgian consumers and professionals know our wine regions very well and are already used to our wines. The key point about Belgium is that with little bit of an investment in communication and presence on the market, we could see immediate results ».


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