Burgundy wine prices hiked in U.S. due weak dollar

PARIS, March 27 Thu Mar 27, 2008 8:35am EDT

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PARIS, March 27 (Reuters) - Burgundy producers have hiked their prices for the U.S. market by 10 to 20 percent over the past weeks due to the continued decline of the dollar, the president of the Burgundy wine association said on Thursday.

"We have been absorbing the dollar decline for the past few years. The producers have given up their margin, the trade has sacrificed its margin and the importers have slashed their margins," Pierre-Henri Gagey told a news conference.

"But we have now arrived at a situation where we cannot take it any longer and from now on we will feel the full brunt of any further dollar weakness," he said at a presentation of the economic situation of Burgundy wines in Paris.

Gagey is also chairman of the Maison Louis Jadot wine company.

"We can dream about lower interest rates in Europe but we have to deal with the reality, therefore the prices on the U.S. market have been increased in the past month by 10 to 20 percent," he said.

The United States is Burgundy's biggest export market in terms of value at 180 million euros ($284 million) per year and the second biggest in volume, at 18 million bottles, after Britain. Exports have risen due to strong demand for white wines and red wines from pinot noir grapes. (Reporting by Marcel Michelson; Editing by Quentin Bryar)

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