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According to Joseph Helfrich (Les Grands Chais de France), 'France will be short of wine, especially white'

Par Vitisphere Le 19 octobre 2021
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According to Joseph Helfrich (Les Grands Chais de France), 'France will be short of wine, especially white'
“The world is big. We have to adapt. Those who don't adapt disappear. It's as simple as that?, reflects Joseph Helfrich. - crédit photo : GCF

enowned for his ‘speak little do much’ attitude, the founder of France's leading vintner-negociant group offers a cursory but no-nonsense run-down of the challenges posed by the small 2021 vintage that has hit the French wine industry.


The French wine industry is on the back end of a chaotic vintage: how are you going to manage the looming shortages and price increases?

Prices are going to rise very sharply, there’s no doubt about it. According to estimates, we know that in France there will be an overall shortage of between 12.5 and 13 million hectolitres. To be more specific, that’s 2.5 times production in Bordeaux. The big problem is that 80% [of the shortfall] is white. We have done our best to plan ahead and manage the situation, but obviously, we won't have all the wines. We have to make do. We haven’t experienced this kind of situation for at least 70 years. There has been frost, mildew, drought, heat spikes... It's the perfect storm. And the situation is the same in Mancha, the Black Forest, northern Italy... And everywhere it involves whites.


Will there actually be a lack of wines for GCF ranges?

Even the most beautiful woman can only give what she has. Clearly, there will be a shortage of white wines. Chardonnay primarily then Sauvignon Blanc. Colombard is faring slightly better. Globally, there are the same issues in the United States, Chile and New Zealand. We have no choice but to ration our wines out, but we are delivering to all our customers. The group's policy is to meet the needs of all our customers. Not only this year, but also every year.


Following the announced price increases, is there a risk that French wines will be de-listed in the future?

Inevitably. In France, we will continue to drink French wines, but the price increases will inevitably reduce export consumption, where we will lose market share to other countries, which do not have the same problem. There will be de-listing, like Chablis in the UK. In any case, whether it's us or someone else, there won't be the volumes. The vintage is a real problem. There is no silver bullet solution.


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Tous les commentaires (1)
Ahsan Khan Le 22 octobre 2021 à 14:07:45
Nothing is forever in this world. The frost, mildew, drought, heat spikes... it is may be a act of God. Things can be changed in coming years. Increasing the price of wine may not be a only choices we have. Yes we may do rationing.
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