The Cognac industry of southwest France reported record exports Thursday, thanks to an explosion of sales to Russia and China.
Overseas sales grew by 9.7 percent in the year to April, to reach 157 million bottles.It was the highest figure since 1990, before a long period of decline led to the destruction of eight percent of Cognac vineyards.
"Cognac's good state of health is now confirmed, because 2007 is definitely a record year," said Jean-Pierre Lacarriere, president of the Cognac National Interprofessional Bureau (BNIC).
The US remains the biggest importer, thanks to a thriving market in the Afro-American and Hispanic communities.
But the biggest increases in sales were in Russia -- up by 55 percent in a year -- and China, up 49.3 percent. Sales to Russia have now been multiplied by seven in seven years.