Will doing away with vintage statements put an end to the marketing crisis?

Wednesday October 30 2019 by Vitisphere

 “Due to climate change, production volatility is a challenge for wine regions at regional and national level”, claimed Jean-Marie Cardebat on 21 October. “Due to climate change, production volatility is a challenge for wine regions at regional and national level”, claimed Jean-Marie Cardebat on 21 October. - Photo credit : Alexandre Abellan (Vitisphere)

Jean-Marie Cardebat, a professor of economics at Bordeaux University who likes to cause a stir, certainly pulled it off during a morning session on the wine business model organised by the Inno'Vin cluster on October 21 at Bordeaux Science Agro. To resolve the marketing crisis affecting parts of the French wine industry, “should wines continue to state their vintage? It is not mandatory and it could iron out supply discrepancies and avoid wines being marred by the poor reputation of some years”, he proffered by way of an explanation. Stressing that while this approach may seem iconoclastic, it has already proven its worth: “In Champagne, good vintages are harvested every year but producers do not state them on bottles. Only excellent vintages are stated, and the system works”.

The economics professor, who recently presented his proposal on the shared contribution website The Conversation, believes that “consumers would likely adapt and inventory management would be greatly facilitated, avoiding harmful cash flow issues for producers and sudden sales movements that can destabilise markets” following adverse weather (shatter, frost, hail, drought...). The wine industry can apply the 85/15 rule, whereby a vintage can be stated if it makes up at least 85% of the blended wine. It is also benefitting from gradual implementation of Individual Complementary Volumes where volumes in excess of annual yield can be placed in storage. However, the challenges of yield volatility affect markets, a fact acknowledged by participants at the Inno'Vin event. Some found Jean-Marie Cardebat's proposals appealing, whilst others remained sceptical about his desire to do away with a basic tenet of AOCs

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