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Champagne: Moët et Chandon cancels trials with machine harvesters

Par Vitisphere Le 08 novembre 2016
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Champagne: Moët et Chandon cancels trials with machine harvesters
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ast September 20, Moët et Chandon announced plans to trial machine harvesting in a 2-hectare vineyard which would consequently have lost its geographical indication status. The firm’s only explanation was that it intended to “explore possible options for harvesting”. However, at the last minute, the plans were shelved, officially due to “staff and equipment safety issues”.

Unofficially, there is a different explanation. Trade union representatives within the company did their utmost to scupper the project, distributing leaflets to inform employees of the risks involved, holding an extraordinary meeting and addressing a letter to the chairman of the wine and spirits branch of LVMH, with Bernard Arnault copied in. “The day before the trial, the decision was reversed and orders came from the top to stop everything”, claimed Patrick Leroy, secretary general of the Champagne branch of trade union CGT.

Opposition to the project was prompted by a number of concerns, including damage to the quality of the crop and reputation of the appellation; job losses and above all, the risk of “a significant economic imbalance” in Champagne. According to the union representative, Moët et Chandon’s ultimate ambition was to exit the appellation. Contrary to widespread rumours, the company’s trials with machine harvesting were not cancelled due to political pressure from industry leaders.

 

[ Source: Vitisphere. Photo: LVMH ]

 

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