Continued deadlock over 2020 yields in Alsace

Friday July 31 2020 by Vitisphere

 During its AGM, the Alsace Viticulture Association (AVA) voted for a yield level of 70 hl/ha for still white wines but the position has since been rejected. During its AGM, the Alsace Viticulture Association (AVA) voted for a yield level of 70 hl/ha for still white wines but the position has since been rejected. - Photo credit : CIVA

The Alsace wine industry, including growers in and around the Colmar exhibition centre on July 16 (some 200 demonstrators), are aware that they have to make a “collective effort”. But there is disagreement over how much effort should be made – should yields be set at 60 or 70 hl/ha in 2020?

The debate, which has been a source of discontent in the vineyards of Alsace for over six months, has yet to be settled. Opinions on the issue have moved closer together, but have yet to be fully reconciled. At the end of a five-hour meeting, more than half of which was given over to discussions on yields for still white wines, a narrow majority of 92 votes was cast in favour of the 70 hl/ha level favoured by grape sellers and co-operative wineries.

The compromise option of 65 hl + 5 hl of VCI or individual complementary volumes supported by independent winegrowers belonging to Synvira, obtained 85 votes. The 60 hl proposed by the board of the Alsace Viticulture Association and a policy position among negociants, whose chairman did not attend the meeting, only received about 40 votes. “CRINAO will reject 70 hl/ha”, warned Jérôme Bauer, Chairman of the AVA (and of CRINAO), causing some hissing among attendees. The regional INAO committee confirmed his prediction the following day. Only 5 votes supported yields of 70 hl. There were 18 votes against, including the six administration representatives who customarily abstain from voting.

There is a clash of strategies: one is aimed at making a huge effort to clear stocks, the second advocates a smaller drop in yields so that it can be amortised over time. I don't know who is right, but we need to do something together to maintain the price of grapes and prevent bulk prices from collapsing”, said Bauer on Thursday.

The AVA has scheduled its AGM for August 18 in the hope that a compromise can be reached. It will be a last-ditch attempt for the industry to agree on yields. If there is still no agreement, the decision will automatically be passed over to INAO’s national committee, as some observers have regretfully pointed out.

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