Sales of French wine in the United States rose 13 percent in volume and 22 percent in value from 2005 to 2006, according to Sopexa USA. Several individual regions showed even better improvement, a 21 percent increase for Bordeaux, 19 percent for home_todaysbordeaux.gifBurgundy, 23 percent for Provence and 32 percent for Cotes-du-Rhones.

There’s a reason why sales of French wines are increasing in this county: Intelligent and persistent marketing. I regularly receive email and hard mail bulletins from the Loire Valley Wine Bureau, the Bordeaux Wine Bureau, the Office of Champagne, and other logo.giftrade bodies, and from Sopexa, the public-private mixed-capital joint stock company dedicated to advancing the cause of French food and wine around the world. In other worlds, the French government puts money into these efforts.

The bulletins usually involve information about various wine regions or latest vintages, promotions of particular kinds of wines or campaigns to raise awareness and increase sales of a region’s products. Yesterday, for example, I received in the mail a handsome and informative little brochure from the Loire Valley Wine Bureau about Muscadet. The Loire Valley group also regularly hosts loirelogo.giftasting of Loire wines in the Northeast and the West Coast.

Other major promotions are underway. The Burgundy section of Sopexa is in its third year of a “Burgundy Best Buys” campaign, in which it promotes a list of red and white burgundies priced from $15 to $35. Because it’s short (and no link is provided, how freaking annoying and what an oversight!), I’ll reproduce that roster below. The Bordeaux Wine Bureau for the second year offers “Today’s Bordeaux,” a list of 100 wines priced between $8 and $25. These were selected by a panel of judges in a blind tasting of almost 300 wines. You can see the list here. Wines of France, an arm of VINIFLHOR, the French National Office for Fruit, Vegetables, Wine and Horticulture (I love these acronyms), for the third year is sponsoring “Spring into French Wines,” a part of which is a list of “Top 40 French Wine Picks,” chosen by Master of Wine Sheri Sauter Morano. You can find that list here. The “Spring into French Wine” campaign is backed this year by a $1.5 million budget for the New York metropolitan area, Washington D.C., Chicago, California, South Florida and two places in Massachusetts, all big wine markets.

The point is that no other wine-producing country that I’m aware of engages in this sort of extensive activity to promote its wines in the United States. And certainly no entity in America, quasi-governmental or not, works to promote our country’s fine wines in Europe or anywhere else in the world.

You can criticize the French on all sorts of historical and cultural issues — and they can criticize right back, of course — but in this particular area, the world’s wine-making regions could learn a Gallic lesson.

Here’s the list of “Burgundy Best Buys” for 2007:
White:
Bourgogne, 2004, Faiveley, $17
Bourgogne Hautes-Côtes de Beaune, 2005, Château de Santenay, $20
Chablis, 2005, Domaine Christian Moreau Père & Fils, $20
Pouilly-Fuissé, 2005, Maison Louis Latour, $19
Pouilly-Fuissé, Domaine de la Collonge , 2005, Gilles Noblet, $22
Santenay, Les Terrasses de Bievaux , 2005, Domaine Jacques Girardin, $25
Santenay, Clos de Malte, 2004, Maison Louis Jadot, $25
Chablis, 2005, Faiveley, $29
Chablis 1er Cru, Fourchaume , 2005, Jean Marc Brocard, $31
Mercurey, 2004, Château de Chamirey, $31
Beaune 1er Cru, Beaune du Château, 2004, Bouchard Père & Fils, $34
Meursault, 2005, Labouré-Roi, $35

Red:
Bourgogne Pinot Noir, Signature , 2005, Maison Champy, $15
Bourgogne Pinot Noir, 2005, Maison Louis Jadot, $20
Chorey-lès-Beaune, 2005, Maison Joseph Drouhin, $20
Savigny-lès-Beaune, 2005, Domaine Rapet, $30
Mercurey 1er Cru, Les Champs Martin, 2005, Domaine Adelie, $29
Mercurey, 2004, Château de Chamirey, $31
Mercurey, 2005, Château Genot Boulanger, $35
Marsannay, Grandes Vignes, 2005, Domaine Bart, $30
Gevrey-Chambertin, 2005, Labouré-Roi, $32