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Bordeaux agrees funding to pull up vineyards

Bordeaux’s wine bureau, the CIVB, confirmed a financing deal has been agreed with the government to help winemakers pull up thousands of hectares of vineyards, as announced at the Salon d’Agriculture show in Paris.

‘These tools put us in a position to pull out 9,500 hectares of vines in [the department of] Gironde,’ the CIVB said. Bordeaux‘s wine region had around 108,000 hectares of vines in 2022, according to figures from the wine bureau.

The CIVB had previously argued that uprooting approximately 10% the region’s vines could help cut oversupply, which is partly due to falling consumer demand.

Total financing of €57m (£50.6m) is set to be made available for a ‘sanitary’ grubbing up scheme, said the CIVB.

The French government is set to provide €38m, of which €30m is already confirmed, the CIVB said. Another €19m of financing will then be provided by the CIVB, subject to approval by the interprofessional body’s board.

It follows months of discussions between France’s agriculture minister, Marc Fesneau, the president of the Nouvelle Aquitaine region, Alain Rousset, and the president and vice-president of the CIVB, Allan Sichel and Bernard Farges respectively.

While the CIVB has said it is confident in the future and in winemakers’ ability to adapt, it believes grubbing around 10% of the region’s vines could help put production on a more sustainable footing.

‘We estimate that we’re facing annual overproduction of 300,000hl [40m bottles], to which must be added 200,000hl sold at unremunerative prices,’ Sichel told the CIVB’s general assembly last December.

Last month, Gironde’s chamber of agriculture said that one third of the region’s wine growers were facing economic difficulty, based on a recent survey. It said many of those in difficulty wished to continue in wine, but some desired to leave the sector.

News of the grubbing up scheme deal comes after France’s government recently announced a €160m funding plan to distil excess wine across the country into industrial alcohol to help deal with a short-term ‘crisis in the wine sector’.

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