The French vineyards, and more particularly Bordeaux, are in crisis. Many winegrowers in Gironde are victims of the collapse of red wine consumption in France.
Last January, they were no less than 1,320 to say they were in difficulty, or nearly a third of the 4,000 professional winegrowers in the department, according to the Chamber of Agriculture of the Gironde. The latter also indicates that more than a quarter of winegrowers who are going through this bad patch want to put an end to their activity and proceed to the total grubbing up of their vines.
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As demand for wine is not there, the volumes produced are too large and prices are collapsing. To avoid overproduction, 9,500 ha will be uprooted. A number calculated by the interprofession of Bordeaux wines, several months ago, to adapt the supply to the demand.
It is the less prestigious appellations that suffer from the collapse of prices and this overproduction, estimated at one million hectoliters. The Grands Crus are not affected by this crisis.
"A way to prepare for the reconquest of the market"
"The grubbing up of vines in Gironde should not be understood as an element of retreat, but rather as a way to prepare the reconquest of the market," said Marc Fesneau at the Salon de l'agriculture. The Minister of Agriculture and the representatives of Bordeaux wines have thus signed the release of an envelope of 57 million euros (38 million supported by the State, 19 by the interprofession) to "dedensify" the Bordeaux vineyard.
When uprooting their vines, winegrowers have the choice between converting their land to other crops, or leaving it fallow for twenty years.
This operation is also carried out in order to combat flavescence dorée. It is a vine disease, causing very significant crop losses, due to a bacterium whose spread is favored by stopping treatments on abandoned plots. In order to combat this disease as a preventive measure and to prevent farmers from abandoning their vines, this grubbing up plan is rewarded at the rate of EUR 6 000 per hectare.
Some organizations, including the collective "Viti 33", demanded the grubbing up of at least 15,000 ha with a premium of 10,000 euros per hectare. According to them, the aid announced is not sufficient while many winegrowers are too old to embark on a project to diversify their culture.
The first plots will be grubbed up after the harvest, i.e. from October 2023.