France pours more aid as wine sector faces ‘Major Difficulties’

This week the government of France stepped up financial support for wine growers faced with a deep drop in demand after lockdowns closed restaurants and bars and U.S. tariffs curbed exports.

“The state will increase to 250 million euros its support plan to wine growing and we will request this aid to be distributed as quickly as possible because cash needs are pressing,” French Prime Minister Jean Castex said on Wednesday.

Castex made the announcement during a visit to the Menetou-Salon and Sancerre vineyards in the Loire region.

“The international situation, the health crisis, a drop in exports: our wine sector faces major difficulties. State support must continue and intensify,” Castex said on Twitter earlier.

France has already provided some support, but the wine industry has called for more action.

In April, the European Commission decided to support crisis management measures in wine and other agriculture sectors affected by the coronavirus crisis.

In May, France cleared a 140 million euro ($165.87 million)crisis mechanism to distill surplus wine into industrial alcohol to be used to produce hand sanitizers.

Then in June, the government unveiled an additional 30 million euros of support for the wine industry, including 15 million for the launch of a private storage scheme for two million hectolitres of surplus wine, an alternative to distilling.

In addition to the impact of COVID-19, France’s wine industry has suffered from U.S tariffs on imports imposed as part of the trade dispute between the European Union and the United States over aircraft subsidies.

Source:  Reuters

 

Reims Tourism Office offers free Champagne to promote tourism

Attracting tourists post-Covid is undoubtedly a challenge. The Greater Reims Council has launched a new initiative called “Champagne, to make your summer awesome!” Visitors to the city will be treated to a bottle of grower Champagne. The greeting has an undeniably elegant touch, though there are some strings attached.

 

A total of 3,000 bottles, sourced from 68 different producers, will be given (one/adult) to those who qualify. The giveaway is said to have cost €50,000.

 

This initiative was launched July 15 and is subject to certain criteria. To qualify, tourists must spend at least two consecutive nights in the City of Reims, or the surrounding area, and stay in a hotel, guesthouse or gîte. Airbnb does not qualify. Also, during their trip, visitors must eat in a local restaurant and order at least one dish and drink. Fast food outlets are excluded from the list. Finally, in order to qualify, tourists must provide proof that they have paid for one leisure activity, such as renting a kayak, a winery visit, bike hire, or cinema ticket. Once they have paid for these holiday treats, visitors are required to go to the Reims tourist information office to receive their complimentary bottle.

This follows news of poor sales of Champagne during the Covid-19 pandemic. Industry body Comité Champagne said that sales were down 32% for the period January to May compared to the same period in 2019.

17 ASSOCIATIONS DEMAND END TO WINE AND SPIRITS TARIFFS

17 associations representing both the US and European wine and spirit trades have submitted comments opposing proposals for further US tariffs on wine, beer and spirits. industry bodies have submitted comments to the United States Trade Representative (USTR) after news of another tariff review last month.

In addition to existing tariffs on still wine, Scotch whisky and liqueurs, the US said it was considering further levies of up to 100% on beer, gin and vodka made in France, Germany, Spain, and the UK.

The dispute relates to EU subsidies given to aviation company Airbus over US-based rival Boeing.

In their comments, the groups cited the latest data which revealed that US imports of Scotch whisky were down by almost 33% between October 2019 and May 2020, while imports of wine fell by 44% and liqueurs and cordials by 23% during the same period.

Analysis conducted by the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS), one of the groups to submit comments, warned that US tariffs on UK and EU wine, distilled spirits and beer could lead to as many as 95,900 job losses, depending on the extent of the tariffs.

In a joint statement, the group said: “Our 17 US, EU and UK associations are united in strong opposition to tariffs on beverage alcohol products. We are speaking with one voice in calling for the US administration and the European Commission to remove the current tariffs on spirits and wine from the EU and UK, and American whiskeys, and to forgo imposing any additional tariffs on beverage alcohol products. We hope Friday’s announcement by Airbus and the legislation passed in Washington State in March regarding civil aviation subsidies are significant steps toward the elimination of tariffs.

“Beverage alcohol sectors on both sides of the Atlantic have suffered enough. These tariffs are exacerbating the incredible burden hospitality businesses are experiencing with the widespread closures of bars and restaurants due to Covid-19. The US and EU need to seek measures to bolster hospitality jobs, not saddle businesses with unnecessary tariffs,” they added.

In October 2019, the US has imposed tariffs on US$7.5 billion worth of EU goods – including wine, spirits and liqueurs – as result of this dispute. The country first imposed 25% tariffs on drinks including Scotch whisky and wine (not over 14% ABV) made in France, Germany, Spain and the UK. The EU has stated that it may impose retaliatory tariffs on US rum, vodka, brandy and wine.

In a separate dispute in June 2018, the EU imposed a 25% tariff on all US whiskey imports. It is scheduled to increase these tariffs to 50% in spring 2021.

In addition to DISCUS, the 16 other associations include: SpiritsEurope, the Scotch Whisky Association, American Beverage Licensees, the National Retail Federation, the American Craft Spirits Association, the American Distilled Spirits Alliance, the National Council of Chain Restaurants, Kentucky Distillers’ Association, the National Association of Beverage Importers, the National Restaurant Association, the US Wine & Trade Alliance, WineAmerica, the Wine Institute, the Wine and Spirits Shippers Association, Wines & Spirits Wholesalers of America, and the National Association of Wine Retailers.

Source:  Drinks Business

The CIVB (Conseil Interprofessionnel du vin de Bordeaux) to set aside wines from 2020 to reduce oversupply

At its AGM last week, the Bordeaux wine marketing council CIVB unanimously approved the introduction of a reserve stock aimed at “reducing the increase in marketable inventories of red Bordeaux and Bordeaux Supérieur appellations”. By adopting an amendment to the three-year trade agreement for 2020-2023, the CIVB is pursuing the objective outlined last year by chairman Bernard Farges, which is “to re-establish a balance between supply and demand for Bordeaux wines”.

We are currently witnessing an imbalance in the market due to crop levels in excess of sales”, sums up Ann-Cécile Delavallade, head of the CIVB’s economic department. According to the statistician’s estimates, inventories of AOC Bordeaux should reach 2.2 million hectolitres during the 2019-2020 marketing season, which is a 21% rise in one year, before distillation is taken into account. Stocks of Bordeaux Supérieur are estimated at 1.05 million hl (+14%). “We are seeing an upward trend in stocks, requiring the introduction of regulatory measures”, stresses Delavallade.

The Bordeaux region will benefit from crisis distillation – 450,000 hectolitres are currently subsidized though an extension is needed. It will also cut its yields significantly in 2020, dropping to 50 hectolitres per hectare for Bordeaux, compared with 54 hl/ha in 2019. Nevertheless, the idea of introducing collective stocks is being viewed as a complementary measure. In practice, volumes set aside are “calculated on the basis of 2020 appellation applications: above 45 hl/ha for AOC Bordeaux and 43 hl/ha for AOC Bordeaux Supérieur, both within the limits of authorized annual yields”. This represents a 10% reduction in the immediate marketing potential of the two AOCs.

Argentina joins New Zealand, South Africa, Chile, Canada and the US/California in forming a New World Wine Alliance to boost performance in the Chinese market

Industry body Wines of Argentina has signed an agreement with Shanghai’s Grapea & Co to be part of the alliance aimed at furthering the perception of New World wine in China.

The project, which began in June and will run until October this year, will take the form of a marketing and educational campaign supported by Grapea & Co’s Yang Lu, China’s first Master Sommelier.

The campaign will focus on both online content, transmitted through social media and blogging platforms, as well as wine and sommelier competitions.

The free content will be available on the New World Wine WeChat account and will consist of 18 virtual masterclasses on New World wine regions and 42 videos on topics such as the wine history, viticulture, winemaking, news, cultural traditions and food and wine matching.

These will also be made available on other platforms including Tik Tok, Dianping, and T-Mall.

In addition, the initiative will also feature 22 live broadcasts from key industry figures and popular wine bloggers.

According to the latest data, the scheme has already proved successful. In the first 15 days after the launch in June, the content platforms recorded a total of 68,000 visits and more than 8,000 views of video content.

Commenting on Argentina’s involvement in the project, Maximiliano Hernández Toso, who took over as president of Wines of Argentina earlier this year, said: “Being part of a project of this magnitude reflects the recognition that Argentine wine has gained internationally and the development of its industry.

“I believe that this is a great opportunity for our flagship product to expose its full potential, supporting and accompanying the drive of the collective strength of regions and countries that scale the world stage. We are confident of the impact of continued education and in working with international opinion leaders, such as, in this case, Yang Lu, the only Chinese Master Sommelier in the world.”

It follows news that Argentina was the only country to record an increase in both import volume and value of wine sent to China between January and May this year.