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Cheaper than cola
Food and drink opinion

Cheaper than cola

Bordeaux, in common with other French wine regions that are reducing production due to falling sales and changing consumer tastes, is uprooting its vineyards

AJ Linn

Malaga

Friday, 12 April 2024, 16:35

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As wine buyers and critics head for Bordeaux to taste samples of the 2023 vintage en primeur, bottles of which will later be sold at between 20 and 200 euros plus, wine at Frances's huge Carrefour chain is selling at soft drink prices. Shoppers at the store's Spring Wine Fair paid 2.97 euros for a wine that won a gold medal in the 2023 Gilbert & Gaillard International Challenge, while a marginally pricier one picked up an award at the 2023 Concours International de Lyon.

So it is probably not surprising that Bordeaux, in common with other French wine regions that are reducing production due to falling sales and changing consumer tastes, is uprooting its vineyards, affecting 10% of the region's total area. The aim is to enhance wine quality, and the Bordeaux Wine Council has approved the removal of approximately 9,500 hectares of vineyard, compensating growers with 6,000 euros per hectare.

WINE OF THE WEEK

WINE OF THE WEEK
  • 62 Millas al Cielo 2022 This oddly named wine, classified as a tinto fino, comes from Spain's largest independently owned bodega, Familia Torres, and the grapes grow in the highest vineyards of the region. Matured for nine months in oak. Refreshing and good value at around 12.50 euros.

However, agricultural unions demand higher compensation and complete removal of at least 15,000 hectares, while critics assert that this is insufficient to resolve issues like chronic oversupply and loss of market share. They claim that uprooting benefits large wineries at the expense of small and medium-sized ones, and uprooting is a short-term fix with potential long-term drawbacks like loss of biodiversity and cultural heritage.

The situation in Bordeaux mirrors that of Spain's Rioja region, where the regulatory council faces calls to remove 10% of vineyards that are located in unsuitable areas. However, this proposal faces resistance from the majority of the regulatory council. Wine times, they are a'changing.

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