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Bulk wine campaign poised to begin

Par Vitisphere Le 20 octobre 2021
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Bulk wine campaign poised to begin
The situation could rapidly start moving over the next few days as Castel has just released its price offers. - crédit photo : Raphael Michel

t has been very quiet so far on the bulk market for Languedoc wines. “To date, I have not yet signed any contracts. Buyers are stopping by to taste, to check the profiles of the wines and above all to enquire about the volumes that will be available to them, but in terms of prices, everyone is tight-lipped. No one has yet nailed their colours to the mast”, explained David Reverbel, director of the Le Pouget co-operative winery in the Hérault Valley at the beginning of last week. He is not the only one in this situation. Wait-and-see is very much the prevailing attitude at the start of the campaign across the region.


Admittedly, harvesting was late – the whites and rosés are only just finished and the reds have not all been racked yet, but this is not the only reason for the late start. The exceptionally low crop volume expected is also to blame. “We still don't know exactly what the volume of the crop will be. The latest forecasts by the Ministry pointed to 8.5 mhl but some industry members claim it will not exceed 7 mhl. Buyers are waiting to find out a little more before making a commitment”, explained René Vergnes, a broker in Béziers. The slump in sales since July in multiple retail outlets is also prompting buyers to be cautious. “Sales were not great this summer. The weather didn’t help and consumption of rosé was below expectations”, confirmed Gilles Gally from Maison Jeanjean. Which explains why buyers, who still have wine waiting to be loaded in wineries, are being cautious and waiting to see if sales pick up in October and November.


Despite this, one thing is for sure and that is that there will be very strong pressure on the whites, with Chardonnay and Sauvignon particularly badly affected by frost. At the Le Pouget winery, for example, only 20% of a ‘normal’ crop of Chardonnay and 33% of Sauvignon was harvested. Ludovic Roux, chairman of the Occitania co-operative winegrowers’ federation, advocates a price increase: “It is vital that prices increase. If only because our production costs are rising: vine stakes, diesel, fertilisers... everything is increasing in price. Not to mention the efforts the region’s winegrowers have put into securing HVE (High Environmental Value) certification, which costs us between €3 and 5/hl. A 15% increase would barely offset all these additional costs”.


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