(Bloomberg) -- Champagne exports to Gulf countries from France jumped in 2022 as Russian tourists flocked to the region after the war in Ukraine curbed their access to Western nations.

French producers shipped nearly 1.9 million bottles of the bubbly drink to the United Arab Emirates last year, a jump of 75%, while exports to Turkey surged 120%, according to figures released this month by the Comite Champagne. Separate numbers from the Trade Data Monitor showed Champagne exports from Turkey to Russia jumped 182% in 2022.

Russian citizens have flooded into the UAE and neighboring countries following the invasion of Ukraine. Their presence may have stoked sales in places like the Gulf region, said David Chatillon, co-chairman of L’Union des Maisons de Champagne, although it’s hard to know in what proportion.

The EU imposed a ban on the export of luxury products to Russia following the invasion of Ukraine last year. But the ban applies only to goods that cost more than €300 ($323) and Champagne bottles often sell for less. Some of the nations where a surge in imports occurred may have re-exported them to Russia, according to the Geneva-based Trade Data Monitor.

Russia, which was the 13th biggest export market in volumes in 2021, fell to 38, after shipments declined by more than 80% in 2022, the data showed. Producers shipped about 435,000 bottles to the country, compared to over 2.3 million in 2021. The US, UK and Japan were the biggest international consumers after France. 


It’s possible some shipments continued to Russia until Ukraine’s invasion in February last year, Chatillon said. While the Comite Champagne didn’t impose an export ban, the organization didn’t get requests from producers for certificates of origin for shipments to Russia after the invasion, he added.

Russians became the top foreign buyers of real estate in Turkey and Dubai last year as sanctions over the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine drove them to invest abroad. They bought a record 16,312 homes in Turkey in 2022, according to data by the Turkish Statistical Institute, and were ranked at the top in Dubai by brokerage Betterhomes. 

READ: Russian Buyers Help to Propel Dubai Property Sales to Record

Producers could have shied away from exporting to Russia due to logistical, insurance and payment reasons but also to protect their reputation, according to Chatillon. The spike in exports to the Gulf, including Qatar which hosted the football World Cup in November and December, is also likely a reflection of the return of tourism to the region, he said. 

Champagne sales overall crossed a record €6 billion last year.

(Updates with comment from Chatillon in third paragraph)

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