Up to one-third of Muscadet's wine growers are facing financial ruin thanks to a 'meltdown' in export markets amid unsustainable pricing levels.
According to Loire Valley wine broker Charles Sydney, around 60 Muscadet vignerons have filed for bankruptcy since this year’s harvest.
A total of 150-200 vignerons are expected to go out of business in the next few months.
Growers have been hit by a number of factors, including the after-effects of 2008’s devastating spring frost, which destroyed up to two-thirds of the crop – and now vineyards are being abandoned or neglected.
‘It is also the warning of the coming meltdown of the market,’ said Sydney.
‘In just five years [in the UK], the effect of duty increases, VAT rates and the pound’s devaluation means that a £5.99 bottle will have gone from having €2.60 of wine in 2006 to a risible €1.38 in 2011.’
He said producers had held their prices and cut their costs, but added: ‘Things are now critical and we are facing a situation where there are no obvious savings to be made.’
Written by Richard Woodard