The vine-pull scheme intended to re-energise Bordeaux’s vineyards has been a dismal failure, according to figures acquired by

With one year left to run, a programme that was intended to cut the region’s vineyard area by 10,000ha looks unlikely to achieve more than a fifth of that.

Bordeaux’s generic body, the CIVB, in association with business and growers’ organisations had hoped to encourage growers in lower quality areas to pull up their vines by offering them €15,000 for every hectare removed.

But two thirds of the way through the programme just 2,000ha have been removed, and the scheme has been branded a failure.

‘Bordeaux can sell between 650m-680m bottles, but we produce 100m more than that – the equivalent to 15,000ha of vines,’ said a spokesperson at negociant Yvon Mau. ‘We have to pull up the difference – 2,000ha just isn’t enough.’

In the first year, which carried the greatest financial incentive, 1,700ha were signed over for arrachage. But figures for the second year were dismal, with applications for just 400ha being submitted.

The financial inducement for the second year is less than the first, at €12,500 per ha. And since those submitting applications for grub-up in the third and final year of the scheme will receive only €9,000/ha there is unlikely to be a last-minute rush of growers taking up the offer.

A combination of over-enthusiastic planting in the 1990s and enhanced competition from New World countries has seen France’s premier wine region swing into a state of overproduction that is depressing wine prices and hurting growers across the region.

Written by Chris Losh