Cognac approves 2,300 ha of vine plantings for 2021

Tuesday November 24 2020 by Vitisphere

 For the next applications for planting permits, the Business Plan will be reviewed in April 2021, following the appointment of a new BNIC chair. For the next applications for planting permits, the Business Plan will be reviewed in April 2021, following the appointment of a new BNIC chair. - Photo credit : BNIC / Fabrice Schäck

The Charente area's request for 2,306 hectares of new planting authorisations for 2021 was passed on 18 November by the standing committee of the national wine appellation board at the National Institute of Origin and Quality (INAO). It has been sent for approval to the FranceAgriMer specialist wine council due to convene on 9 December. While many vineyards are requesting exemption from national insurance contributions and have benefited from distillation aid, Charente's desire to expand has been the subject of much debate.

After all, the acreage represents 45% of national applications for new planting rights in 2021, commented Eric Billhouet, chairman of the AOC Cognac producers’ organisation. Despite the scale of the coronavirus pandemic, which is also affecting Charente brandies, Patrick Raguenaud, the chairman of the Cognac marketing bureau BNIC, said: “We are reasonably optimistic - cautious considering the generally challenging health situation yet confident at the prospects of a significant upturn”.

According to the latest trade statistics issued by the marketing board, Cognac sales do not seem to have escaped the negative impact of the pandemic. From November 2019 to October 2020, Cognac shipments fell by 15.7% compared to the previous mobile annual totals, with shipments of 184 million bottles worth 2.7 billion euros.

Cognac experienced two tricky months, in April and May, but since June we have returned to our 2019 level”, explained Raguenaud, who stressed that “the category is very resilient thanks to a powerful distribution network and a variety of established brands… We have to commend an extremely agile trade, which has adapted quickly to the new situation in terms of drinking locations, with less on-premise and more at-home consumption, and distribution networks, with the significant development of e-commerce. We have returned to pre-crisis levels and the outlook is positive”.

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