France To Pour Away £170 Million Of Wine Following Sales Crash

A person retrieving wine from a box

The EU will fund much of the cost.

The French government is poised to dispose of millions of litres of wine in an effort to counter the steep decline in prices resulting from plummeting sales.

Attributed to the surge in craft beer’s popularity, the cost-of-living crisis, and the lingering effects of Covid lockdowns, the sharp decrease in sales has been a cause for concern.

This downward trajectory has been exacerbated by an ongoing increase in production, leading to an overwhelming surplus of unsold wine, posing a significant threat to price stability.

Prominent wine-producing regions, notably the renowned Bordeaux area of France, find themselves grappling with this predicament.

In response, the French government has unveiled a substantial £170 million initiative to acquire enormous quantities of this surplus, with the intent of its eventual destruction.

The alcohol content from these excess quantities will be repurposed for the creation of hand sanitizers, cleaning products, or even perfumes, reported the Daily Mail.

Marc Fesneau, the French agriculture minister, articulated that the fund’s purpose is to “prevent a collapse in prices and to offer wine-makers avenues for generating revenue once again.”

He emphasised, however, that the industry must also “gaze into the future, contemplate shifts in consumer preferences, and adapt accordingly.”

A significant proportion of the funding, amounting to £135 million, is sourced from the European Union.

As per data from the European Commission, wine consumption estimates for the current year reveal a decline of 15 per cent in France, seven per cent in Italy, 10 per cent in Spain, and an astonishing 34 per cent in Portugal. Conversely, production within the EU has seen a four per cent increase.

The Commission highlighted that the sectors worst impacted were those responsible for producing reds and rosés in regions spanning France, Spain, and Portugal.

The shift in consumption patterns towards beer and other cheaper alcoholic drinks has contributed to this decline.

Moreover, the recovery of sales has been sluggish post-pandemic, particularly due to the extended closure of many restaurants and bars.

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Written by

Jo Pugh

Jo Pugh is a journalist based in the Costa Blanca North. Originally from London, she has been involved in journalism and photography for 20 years. She has lived in Spain for 12 years, and is a dedicated and passionate writer.