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From storing must to PGI sparkling wines, the South-West France wine region is weighing up its future

By Vitisphere March 15, 2023
From storing must to PGI sparkling wines, the South-West France wine region is weighing up its future
The thought process aims to be cross-sectional so that “we don’t rule anything out in terms of future consumer needs”, concludes Christophe Bou. - crédit photo : DR
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hilst France’s wine industry continues to discuss the magnitude of the short and long-term measures designed to restore balance between supply and demand – from distilling wine to vine pulls – the South-West France wine marketing board (IVSO) is already planning for the strategic issues that lay ahead by establishing working groups to broaden the range of possibilities.  The groups, which have been placed under the authority of the regional wine management council, have already convened and started to explore various avenues, reports Christophe Bou, co-chairman of IVSO. The group focusing on economic and control issues has discussed the need for multi-year contractualisation and a change in the style of the wines. With this in mind, it aims to find solutions for ironing out the peaks and troughs in supplies which cannot be ensured by the existing scheme of complementary individual volumes for white and rosé wines.

One suggested option is cold storage of grape must to postpone alcoholic fermentation, suggests Bou, claiming that it would be worthwhile to “have product in reserve that is not necessarily wine. Look at Gers – after two small crops, regaining market shares will be a struggle. This possible line of approach seems to be appropriate. It would provide guarantees, both financially and in terms of products”. Placing must in cold storage would allow the desired aroma and flavour profiles to be maintained – particularly the thiols, freshness and fruitiness. “We need to seek out new techniques”, stresses Bou, admitting that they would require consideration to ascertain both their financial and environmental impact.  

Other avenues being explored include the development of bio-ethanol as a continual distillation supply chain to manage surpluses, offering a market regulation outlet. Work is also focusing on base wines for sparkling wines labelled PGI Comté Tolosan, so that the South-West proposition can include sparkling wines.

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