Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Ten percent of all Bordeaux vineyards are on the brink of collapse

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Too much cheap wine

Ten percent of all Bordeaux vineyards are on the brink of collapse

While famous Bordeaux chateaux are swimming in money, many companies producing inexpensive Bordeaux wines are currently faced with an icy wind.


The problem: there is too much Bordeaux wine.

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Nicholas GreinacherEditor Wine

In good years, around 7,000 Bordeaux wineries produce over 800 million bottles of wine annually. Bordeaux is not just about a lot of bottles, but also about a lot of money: the total value of the annual production of the 2018 vintage was over 4 billion euros. Around half of all Bordeaux wines are exported all over the world.

The problem: the amount of wine is too large. This mainly affects wineries away from the well-known areas that have specialized in cheap Bordeaux. Such wines often cost less than one euro per bottle to produce and end up on supermarket shelves, both in France and especially in China, England and the USA.

Difficult times for cheap Bordeaux

Several factors are causing headaches for the winemakers of cheap Bordeaux wines. For one thing, the French are drinking less and less wine, which is why sales in France are falling. In the current economic situation, the Chinese have also become more reluctant to buy cheap Bordeaux. There is also a lot of competition in the cheapest of all price segments, because countries like Spain, Chile or Australia offer wines that are at least as good or better for the same price.

The problem of the oversupply of wines does not only exist in Bordeaux, but also in other EU countries. Until 2006, winegrowers were promised a premium of 15,000 euros per hectare of vineyard if they uprooted their vines and used the land for other purposes. In Bordeaux, however, winegrowers are no longer allowed to claim such EU amounts and are forced to leave their land planted with vines.

In view of the currently difficult situation, there is currently a heated debate as to whether such a bonus should be reintroduced. Some are calling for the reintroduction of the premium for uprooting vines of 10,000 euros per hectare of vineyards.

Even the current President of the CIVB (Conseil Interprofessionnel du Vin de Bordeaux), Allan Sichel (60), would like the Bordeaux vineyards to be reduced by around ten percent in order to bring supply and demand back into balance. However, it is unclear whether such a measure would actually ease the current situation.

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