(Lyon) A “promising” vintage, a slight increase in production, but a marketing marked by the international context: the year 2022 was “contrasted” for the winegrowers and merchants of the Rhône Valley who benefited from the solidity of their vintages.

“Qualitatively, it’s been a pretty good year. When it’s hot and dry like last year, we make great wines,” Philippe Pellaton, president of InterRhône, the interprofessional body bringing together the AOC wine sector of the region, told AFP on Monday. Rhone Valley.

This terroir has more than 5,000 farms in five departments (Rhône, Loire, Ardèche, Gard, Drôme and Vaucluse), 31 appellations, the most famous of which are Condrieu and Côte-Rôtie, and 34 grape varieties.

It remains the second AOC vineyard in France, behind the Bordeaux vineyard, with 65,346 hectares for 2.6 million hectoliters harvested in 2022, a slight increase of 2% in one year, according to the latest figures from InterRhône, published on Monday during the annual press conference of the AOC vineyards of the Rhône Valley.

In total, 329 million bottles were marketed last year, but cellar outputs fell by 6% in one year with nearly 2.47 million hectoliters produced.

On the raw side, “it confirms a serene, well-established, sacred positioning on valued circuits”, such as in restaurants or in wine shops, according to Mr. Pellaton, who notes the good results of Saint-Joseph (10% in volume marketed) , crozes-hermitage (12%) or gigondas (7%).

But for regional appellations, “it’s more contrasting” with a relatively contained decline for Côtes du Rhône wines (-3% in volume marketed) and more pronounced for other AOCs, such as Ventoux (-11%) or Costières-de-Nîmes (-13%).

“For these wines, we have much larger volumes to sell than those of the crus. Mainly marketed in supermarkets, they are the subject of consumer arbitration in an inflationary context on food products,” explained Mr. Pellaton.

InterRhône also notes the “gradual disappearance of everyday wine consumers”, which mainly affects red wines “at less than 4 euros a bottle”.

On the other hand, retail sales of rosés have “stabilized” and those of Rhone whites have increased by 8.4%, welcomed the organization.

On the export side, 186 destinations in the world have consumed wines from the Rhône Valley, in the first ranks of which Belgium (18% of imports by volume), the United Kingdom (15%) and the United States (14 %).

While volumes have fallen due to “international tensions and the economic context”, with 118 million bottles exported in 2022 compared to 127 million the previous year, they nevertheless remain “higher than those of 2020” with “valuation still rising », specifies InterRhône.