Crémant circumvents the crisis in Bordeaux

Monday December 16 2019 by Vitisphere

“We are inspired by the rationale in Champagne, but compared with their success, we are modestly at year zero”, commented MD Philippe Cazaux.“We are inspired by the rationale in Champagne, but compared with their success, we are modestly at year zero”, commented MD Philippe Cazaux. - Photo credit : UG Bordeaux

Take the traditional components that factor into the production of red Bordeaux, turn them upside down and you get the factors leveraging the success of Crémants de Bordeaux: high-yielding, flatland vineyards showing lots of vigour; a marketing rationale revolving around strong brands and not multiple chateaux; widespread, long-term programmes offering visibility and peace of mind; and the more or less systematic lack of vintage statement ironing out supply fluctuations. “Long-term programmes and brands are the two keys to the success of Crémant that Bordeaux should take on board”, summed up Philippe Cazaux, managing director of Union de Guyenne, whose member co-operative Louis Vallon specialises in Crémant – so much so that it has now become the style’s leading producer.

Ten years ago, we used to produce 25,000 bottles. Now we have exceeded the million mark”, said Cazaux with obvious satisfaction. He went on to point out that the Louis Vallon winery currently accounts for 25,000 hectolitres out of the total 60 to 70,000 hectolitres of Crémant produced in Bordeaux annually. Half of the wines are marketed under Louis Vallon’s own brand (40% rosé), with the balance sold as base wine and under contract to trading companies (as well as buyers’ own brands).

Everything under contract

As the sales crisis weighs down on the 2019 harvest in Bordeaux, Louis Vallon is already discussing the profiles of wines for 2020. “Everything is under contract before the harvest. There are no spot deals, all our products are set aside for particular profiles tailored to each customer. There is no hiatus between supply and demand, which allows prices to be maintained”, explained Cazaux. He described a model Bordeaux could aspire to, but whose inspiration comes more from methods used in Champagne.

 

 

 

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