A Bordeaux Union is asking the government to match its distillation subsidy to the amount they can make by selling the wine.

The Bordeaux and Bordeaux Supérieur union is set to become the first local wine union in France to make such a move. It is asking the government for a separate loan as an incentive for its members to distil surplus stocks. The union hopes to be able to offer its members up to €900 per tonneau to do so.

As reported on decanter.com the Syndicat has been imposing a block on selling any of the 2005s for less than €1,000.

In 2005 the French government and the EU offered incentives of €300-€400 per tonneau to distil excess wine across France. This was organised through interprofessional trade bodies such as the CIVB in Bordeaux. France eventually distilled 1.1m hl, but Bordeaux only sent 200,000 hl of this – less than half its allowance.

‘Last year, our members didn’t want to destroy their excess wine at €300 per tonneau, when they could get €600 selling it,’ André de la Bretesche, director of the Syndicat of Bordeaux (where the vast majority of the surplus stock is found), told decanter.com. ‘We hope to make it so attractive this year that we finally balance supply and demand.’

They are looking to distil 260,000hl of rosé and red, and 60,000hl of white wine.

A loan of €15m, repayable over five years, would allow them to offer €800-€900 for reds, and €600-€700 for whites. Currently, the 2004 red wines are going for around €800 to négotiants, but

‘The distillation, if taken up, would provide a way of ending the current standoff between buyers and growers,’ explained Bretesche.

The request has now gone to the CIVB.

Written by Jane Anson