Bordeaux union takes radical steps to halt price slide

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  • Friday 25 November 2005

In a bid to halt spiralling prices a Bordeaux union is set to stop its members using the word Bordeaux or Bordeaux Supérieur on its wines.

As part of a concerted action to halt the falling prices of the region’s wines the Union de Bordeaux et Bordeaux Supérieur, working in collaboration with the agricultural worker’s union (FDSEA) and the militant Jeune Agriculteurs (Young Farmers), has put forward a plan to withhold AOC (Appellation d’Origine Controlé) certificates from producers who do not sell their barrels for the minimum price of €1,000.

The current price of a barrel of Bordeaux Supérieur is around €700.

Without the certificates, which allow the producers to state that a wine is of Bordeaux or Bordeaux Supérieur quality, the wines cannot be sold as such.

The union will only issue the certificates when it is presented with a contract signed by the producer, négociant and the Bordeaux wine trade body (CIVB).

The union has called an exceptional general assembly 2 December to vote on the move.

‘Most members are in favour of the move,’ Michèle Vernoux of the Bordeaux Supérieur union told decanter.com. ‘It’s a peaceful solution to the problem.’

A spokeswoman for the CIVB said it was waiting for the decision in December before making an official comment. ‘The CIVB is conscious of the [Bordeaux price] problem but it cannot impose prices – for a start it’s illegal,’ she said.

Vernoux said that the union had a duty to uphold the quality and image of its wines and that recent deep discounting had adversely affected that image.

Working to the same deadline, the FDSEA and Jeune Agriculteurs have threatened action against the négociants although they have yet to confirm what other steps they will take.

‘It will depend on the response from the négociants,’ said Jean-Louis Nadau, secretary general of the FDSEA. ‘But demonstrations are likely.’

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