Burgundy Reflects on Its Business Model

Burgundy reports a generally favorable outcome for its wine sales; however, stock levels are recovering slowly.

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Despite a good harvest in 2023, wine stock levels in Burgundy still linger below the five-year average. (Photo: Archive)
Despite a good harvest in 2023, wine stock levels in Burgundy still linger below the five-year average. (Photo: Archive)

The Bureau Interprofessionnel des Vins de Bourgogne (BIVB) has confirmed a slight return to normality in its latest report on the 2022/23 wine campaign. Thanks to the generous 2022 vintage with 1.75m hectoliters, stocks were partially replenished, it said, even if the average harvest over five years remains below 1.5m hectoliters.

By the end of July, the wineries' stock levels are still notably below the five-year average. François Labet, President of the BIVB, expressed his concern, stating, "The biggest problem in Burgundy is the scarcity of wine." The 2023/24 campaign starts on a relaxing note, given a promising harvest for the 2023 vintage.

Minor decline compared to 2022

Sales outcomes must be viewed considering the economic and geopolitical impacts of the past two years. However, export sales are still on the rise. Even though the quantities slightly decreased after a strong 2022, they were 5.3% higher in the first half of 2023 compared to the pre-COVID (2019) period.

Export of AOP wines saw a 7% volume decline in the first half of 2023 compared to 2022, but their value increased by 5.5%. The association commented on this, saying, "With 43 million bottles, this export level remains one of the highest in the last 30 years, even if the Burgundians haven't fully replenished their stocks." Revenue surpassed the $790m mark in the first six months of 2023.

Traditional markets slowing down

Some appellations performed notably well in volume in the first half of 2023 compared to the same period in 2022: Mâconnais saw a 10.8% volume increase in white wine, Chablis and Petit Chablis had a 0.2% volume increase, and Crémant de Bourgogne enjoyed a 6% growth.

Burgundy's strongest export markets, the so-called "Famous Five" (USA, UK, Canada, Japan, and Belgium), have accounted for two-thirds of the exports for about a decade. However, exports to these countries have somewhat slowed down in the first half of this year. Germany ranks only 10th in export countries. With nearly 1.3m 0.75l bottles in the first half of 2023, there was a decrease of 13.2% compared to the first six months of 2022, with a value of €19.1m (down by 1.2%).


If you want to understand what’s happening at the top end of wine, there’s no better expert to call on than Jamie Ritchie, the Worldwide Chairman of Sotheby’s Wines & Spirits, based in New York. Felicity Carter caught up with him to ask about the extraordinary prices being achieved for fine wine in the secondary market and whether the trend can continue.

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