The Bordeaux and Bordeaux Supérieur union has voted to stop its members using the words 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 has voted to withhold AOC (Appellation d’Origine Controlé) certificates from producers who do not sell their barrels, or tonneaux, to négociants 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) confirming that the barrels have been bought for at least €1,000.

The exceptional general assembly of the union voted on the proposal today. It was passed by an overwhelming majority with 126 of the 163 members present voting in favour.

‘This action is a non-violent, well thought-out move and it should be taken as a wake-up call,’ said Michèle Vernoux of the Bordeaux Supérieur union.

Vernoux was adamant that the union was not holding the négociants to ransom.

‘If you work it out, €1,000 per tonneau is equivalent to €0.83 per bottle, which is totally acceptable,’ she said.

For its part, the Bordeaux wine trade body (CIVB) reacted to the news saying the move demonstrated the ‘severe difficulties’ faced by some producers. It also implied that it disapproved of the move.

‘The CIVB is convinced that only the balance between supply and demand can establish the market price,’ said a spokesperson.

Written by Oliver Styles