WITH the increasing demand for fine wines and spirits in the country, a business delegation of French wine producers and exporters visited Manila late in October to interact with local importers and expand the reach of their products.
The growing market for wines and spirits in the Philippines, which recorded a 7-percent current growth value and reached P1.1 billion in 2017, served as impetus for the arrival of the French representatives in our shores.
In terms of value (€3 million) and sixth in terms of volume (1.2 million liters), France has already been enjoying good business in the country from the sales of its alcoholic products. The European country is already the fourth-largest wine exporter here after the United States, Australia and Spain.
The business expedition was a vital part of “Tastin’ France,” a series of professional wine-tasting events held worldwide in 65 cities set up by Business France, a national agency supporting the development and exports, and international investment.
It is interesting to note that the wine world would not be what it is today if not for the immense contribution of France, as it has been a source of winemaking practices and styles for wine-producing countries, as well as its many grape varieties that have been planted throughout the world.
The growing market in the Philippines is a result of the popularity of wine and spirits to the younger set, which represents a potential growth segment. Factors such as giving a premium on education, being exposed to worldwide trends via traveling and the phenomenon of evolving palates, all helped pave the way for this emerging segment of alcoholic-beverage consumers.
As such, increasing numbers from the younger generation have been turning to champagne, wine and other spirits as important elements in celebrating milestones in their lives.
Though the demand for wines and spirits may be bigger in other countries in the Asean region, France has kept a keen eye of the constantly growing market of local wine drinkers.
During the official launch of Tastin’ France-Manila, Ambassador Nicolas Galey said, “While the Philippine market is relatively small compared to its other Asian neighbors, with growing interest for fine wines and the Filipino drinker’s evolving and more discerning palate, I am positive that the steadily growing market is ready for even more French players.”
Galey added, “It is our hope that these wine, champagne and cognac makers [could] introduce more French products to the Philippine market through strong partnerships, and with the invaluable guidance [from] potential Filipino importers.”
Manila was the first leg for the French wine producers, as they were also scheduled to visit Kuala Lumpur and Singapore afterward.