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Aquitaine-Poitou-Charentes-Limousin: France's second-largest wine region by area and value

Par Vitisphere Le 25 février 2015
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Aquitaine-Poitou-Charentes-Limousin: France's second-largest wine region by area and value

n January 1st 2016, the nationwide reform of France’s regions comes into effect. The reform will bring together under a single banner, Aquitaine, Limousin and Poitou-Charentes, creating a vast region with vineyards stretching from the Basque appellation area of Irouléguy (in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques) to the Loire’s Saumur region, creating a combined vineyard area of approximately 150,000 hectares. The area equates to around one-fifth of the national total, so the newly-formed Languedoc-Roussillon-Midi-Pyrénées will rank first, by far, with its 250,000 hectares under vine*. Despite being home to prestigious names such as Cognac and Bordeaux, the new region will also come second for export turnover. In 2013, it exported 4.1 billion euros worth of wines and spirits, placing it just after Champagne (4.37 billion euros). In 2014, Aquitaine’s economic performance should improve: the region’s wine industry lost a considerable amount of turnover the previous year due to the small 2013 crop.

“The enlarged region will rank first in Europe for its agriculture and food industry”, stated Jean-Pierre Raynaud, vice-chairman of the Aquitaine regional council, who painted a picture of the new Atlantic behemoth during a press conference. The National Agricultural Show in Paris this month will in some ways act as a swan song for the region, as this will be the last time Aquitaine attends as an individual exhibitor. By taking stands near Poitou-Charentes and Limousin (in Halls 1 and 3) and organising a special one-day event to celebrate the emergence of the new region (February 27), all three areas get a chance to work together. Aquitaine will also be able to take stock of the South-West France brand, launched three years ago in conjunction with Midi-Pyrénées. The new regions call into question the territorial brand name, admits Jean-Pierre Raynaud. However, he has reiterated his desire to “keep a brand in which we have invested. We have already proved that a regional boundary is not insurmountable”. Nevertheless, Midi-Pyrénées will still have to strike a balance between promoting its products under the South-West France label, and the South of France brand used by Languedoc-Roussillon.

The Aquitaine, Limousin and Poitou-Charentes region will boast the highest number of quality and origin marks (155, including 62 PDOs and 7 PGIs for wine), though even before the amalgamation, Aquitaine ranked first with 129 marks, including 59 PDOs and 7 PGIs for wine.

* According to DRAAF Languedoc-Roussillon and Midi-Pyrénées (based on the 2010 agricultural census).

[Source: Vitisphere; Illustration: close-up of the territorial reform map; Ministry for Decentralisation]

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