Provence bucked a prevailing downward trend last year and saw its rosé wine exports soaring despite the pandemic, driven by bullish demand in Europe. But now, with traditional exports markets in Europe and the US firmly captivated by the pink wine, Provence is eyeing its next growth engine – Asia.
Despite Covid-19 and disruptions caused on trade, Provence rosé wines exports grew by 6% in volume and 1% in value, according to data released by the Conseil Interprofessionnel des Vins de Provence (CIVP).
In Europe, rosé is being drunk all throughout the season and more frequently at home. Exports to the UK surged 51% in volume, while Netherlands’ rosé wine imports jumped 45%. Across the Pacific Ocean, Provence’s biggest export market, the US, however, suffered a 6% drop in volume, largely due to the punitive tariffs and Covid-19 disruptions.
However, growth in the major European markets, in particular the UK, the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium, has largely offset the decline in the American market, which nonetheless retains its position as the leading export destination, says Valérie Lelong, Head of marketing and communications of CIVP, when interviewed by Vino Joy News.
Together, its top five export markets in the US and Europe consist of 80% of its export market, a strength for its consumption in mature wine markets. At the same time, it highlights the imbalance of over-concentration for the pink wine, Lelong notes.
“In 2019 we have been thinking about how to develop our exports over the long term to diversify our export markets and be less dependent on our main buyers,” she says.
It did not take long for the association to identify the future of its growth engine – Asia. In 2020, exports to Hong Kong alone grew by a stunning 50% in volume and 30% in value, and in Singapore, the growth soared by 90% in volume and 128% in value, according to CIVP data.
Yet, Asia Pacific region only accounts for 4% of its exports by volume and value, a percentage that the association wants to grow to at least 10-15% in medium terms, Lelong reveals.
One of the key plans the association has taken on to diversify its export market in Asia pacific region is to use the latest technology and online platforms to launch Provence Wine Connect, a website dedicated to facilitate communications and business between Provence wine producers directly with Asian wine trade.
“The main objective of the platform is to put our winemakers in touch with professionals, and make contact easier between them,” says Lelong. Last July, Provence Wine Connect was officially launched just when business across all sectors is shifting online without international travels.
The website, free to all trade, so far has attracted 87 registered importers in Asia Pacific region and 99 producers.
It is the only website dedicated solely to Provence’s three AOPs, namely AOC Côtes de Provence, AOC Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence and AOC Coteaux Varois en Provence. Producers can list out and update information about their wineries, wines, vintages and export interest.
The website also offers importers tools to customize and define searches more precisely by using advanced search and arrange virtual meeting with producers in discussion groups and via the website’s messaging feature.
There is an additional calendar tool that showcases live and virtual events happening around the world to get importers up to date with Provence rosé events.
Aside from the online promotion through Provence Wine Connect, Lelong adds that the CIVP organizes a business mission each year sending 15 winemakers to showcase their wines to importers in Asia.
Last year it was in South Korea and China. This year it will take place in Australia and New Zealand at the end of June and beginning of July.
In Hong Kong, on the back of its growth momentum, the association is also looking to launch physical events this summer in July and in-store promotions from July to August to boost Provence rosé’s profile and sales.
The CIVP has confirmed attendance at the upcoming Hong Kong International Wine and Spirits Fair in November, hoping by then the market and cross-border trade had fully recovered.
You can sign up for free for Provence Wine Connect here.