Brexit and Bordeaux

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A number of people have asked me for comments on how the recent Brexit vote might affect the traditional strong relationship between the Bordeaux and London based wine trades.

I thought it might be useful to try to put this into context here. Inevitably after such a huge upheaval, there is enormous uncertainty. But a closer look at the situation provides grounds for reassurance.

Inevitably there will be some short term turbulence, chiefly linked to exchange rate volatility, but personally I do not foresee major long term disruption. England and Bordeaux have been trading closely together for many centuries: the British market has a special place in the hearts of Bordeaux producers; and Bordeaux equally has a special place in the hearts of British wine drinkers. That special relationship, which existed for hundreds of years before the European Union, will endure. As an Englishman based in Bordeaux, and a producer of several Bordeaux wines, and equally as an Englishman who fell completely in love with Bordeaux and its wines a long time ago, I feel well placed to say this from both sides of the question. This feeling is reinforced by many conversations I have had both with fellow producers in Bordeaux, and with many fellow English lovers of the wines of the region. I am stating a personal conviction, but also relaying the results of many conversations with people on both sides.

It is also a fact that Bordeaux’s leading export markets are generally outside the EU anyway.

The figures for exports of all Bordeaux wines over the past twelve months show that the UK is fourth in value terms. The other four in the top five: Hong Kong; USA; China; Japan are none of them in the EU. This has not prevented Bordeaux from exporting to them.

If we narrow the analysis and take a look at the top six export markets for premium Bordeaux wines (over 15 euros per bottle ex cellars), it is again worth noting that five of them are not in the EU, and again the UK, in fourth place, is the only EU member (they are in order of value in Euros: Hong Kong; USA; China; UK; Switzerland; Japan).

There is perhaps a medium term political risk linked to the possibility of tarifs being imposed on imports and exports to and from the UK in an initial heat of political bad temper, but this would both be sad and also would benefit only New World producers who would seize the chance of increasing market share in the UK, and I think and hope that far sighted and rational politicians in Europe will do all they can to avoid such an outcome, which would obviously be negative for Bordeaux and indeed for all European wine producers.

One of the things that I love about Bordeaux is that it is an outward looking, global trading city, that long ago accepted the challenge of travelling the earth in order to promote and sell the wines of its surrounding vineyards. The market for the great wines of Bordeaux is a global one: Great Britain is a vital traditional and at the same time modern market for our wines, with an illustrious history, a dynamic present, and no doubt a glorious future ahead as one of the principal markets where the great wines of Bordeaux are appreciated. It is important that the wine drinkers of the UK should know that they in their turn are thoroughly appreciated by the winemakers of Bordeaux: our wines have been drunk in England for centuries and will be for centuries to come. In spite of any short term difficulties, we have a great past and a great future together.

Château Pichon Baron
Château Pichon Baron

 

51_suduiraut_vinexia_28102012_DSC1403
Château Suduiraut

 

Château Petit-Village
Château Petit-Village

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4 thoughts on “Brexit and Bordeaux”

  1. Even though a bit English centric (the Scots loving Bordeaux as well for many centuries) well said and totally agree.

  2. Hi Christian,

    I love your blog about all the wonderful AXA Wineries. As an avid collector and AXA employee for 16 years, we have been blessed with the opportunities to purchase these great wines. My question is, I am visiting Bordeaux next month and would love to visit some of the Axa properties, what would be the best way to do this and how would you plan the visitation schedule? Thank you for your help! Ian

    1. Thank you very much for your message Ian. The teams of Pichon Baron, Petit-Village and Suduiraut will be happy to help you discover these great vineyards. Herewith the information to organise your private visit(s) of the AXA Millésimes properties in Bordeaux:
      – Château Pichon Baron, Grand Cru Classé en 1855, Pauillac : http://www.pichonbaron.com/en/contact-us/
      – Château Suduiraut, 1er Cru Classé en 1855, Sauternes : http://www.suduiraut.com/en/news-visiting-the-estate/visiting-the-estate/
      – Château Petit-Village, Pomerol : http://www.petit-village.com/en/content/come-and-see-us