Cognac growers relaxed about higher-than-expected yields

Monday October 05 2020 by Vitisphere

The four major Charente firms are Hennessy, Martell, Courvoisier and Rémy Martin.The four major Charente firms are Hennessy, Martell, Courvoisier and Rémy Martin. - Photo credit : Alexandre Abellan

The 2020 crop yielded higher volumes than originally forecast, taking Cognac winegrowers by surprise. “It's incredible, there is quite a lot of volume! We are lucky to have five-year contracts with negociants who announced price rises before the harvest. All is well!” explains a Petit Champagne distiller, evidently confident and in good spirits.

Feedback on the last plots harvested shows that the recent rainfall had a beneficial effect. Yields are higher than expected”, confirms Anthony Brun, chairman of the AOC Cognac winegrowers’ organisation (UGVC). Although it is still too early to release harvest figures, average yields for Cognac could be in the range of 12 hectolitres of pure alcohol per hectare. This is below the marketable yield of 12.8 hl AP/ha set by the marketing board in August.

Whilst many French wine regions are having to cope with excess inventories, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Charente brandy industry is relaxed about taking in the unexpected additional volume, estimated at 100,000 hl of pure alcohol. The Charente wine industry secured an agreement with the four major Cognac firms that there would be no drop in prices and has in fact recorded an average increase of 1% in prices for the 2020 harvest (with variations ranging from 0 to +1.6%). This gesture of goodwill by negociants has reassured growers, while also offering a token of confidence in the trade’s ability to bounce back from the crisis.

From a marketing perspective, “the news is quite good from the United States and starting to look up in Asia”, comments Patrick Béguin, chairman of the regional Cognac wine and spirit brokers’ organisation.




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