Covid puts paid to independent winegrower fairs in France this spring

Tuesday March 30 2021 by Vitisphere

 Due to loss of business, independent wineries are asking for increased government support. Due to loss of business, independent wineries are asking for increased government support. - Photo credit : Vignerons Indépendants

France’s independent winegrowers’ federation has reluctantly announced that it is cancelling the seven fairs that were due to be held this spring. “The health situation is clearly not satisfactory and the authorities are not in a position to give us an answer soon enough. We don’t want to have to make an eleventh-hour decision like last year so we have had to cancel the fairs”, said Pierre-Antoine Giovannoni, the vice-chair tasked with organising the fairs for independent winegrowers.

In all, seven fairs have been cancelled, after being put back from the beginning of the year to the spring in the hope that they could be held at the end of the Covid-19 pandemic. There will be no show open to the public at the Porte de Versailles exhibition centre from 10 to 13 June (after the Champerret event was postponed), nor events in Nogent-sur-Marne (20 April-2 May), Rennes (28-30 May), Strasbourg (4-7 June), Mandelieu (18-20 June), Bordeaux (25-27 June) or Lyon (2-4 July).

Our organisation and our members cannot take the risk of investing following the latest announcements [of tougher lockdown measures] and the lack of visibility”, pointed out Jean-Marie Fabre, the federation’s chairman. He stressed that the cancellations meant that “tens of thousands of bottles will not be sold and millions of euros in revenue will not be earned”.

Direct sales during wine fairs represent on average 15% of annual turnover for independent winegrowers, commented Giovannoni. Unable to hold any shows in 2020, the events’ organisers are inviting the industry and its customers to meet up next October for the autumn fairs: “It is reasonable to think that the health situation and rate of vaccination will allow us to start up again on a good footing...”

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