Loire appellation Montlouis-sur-Loire has broken away from the official Loire trade body, saying it can use its marketing budget far more efficiently itself.
‘We can do better…’ François Chidaine
From January 2014 the appellation, near Vouvray in the Loire Valley, will be responsible for its own marketing and promotion as it officially withdraws its funding from the Interprofessional des Vins du Val de Loire, known as InterLoire.
François Chidaine, the head of AOC Montlouis-sur-Loire, who resigned from InterLoire’s executive exactly a year ago, claiming the organisation was incompetent and bureaucratic, told Decanter.com the Montlouis budget was €70,000, but even with that small sum they felt they could do better than InterLoire.
‘Before, we had to ask permission from InterLoire for whatever we wanted to do. Now we feel we can make our own decisions. Even with €70,000 we can do better than InterLoire.’
Montlouis-sur-Loire has 239ha of vines, and groups together 72 producers, making around 10,000 hectolitres of both still and sparkling red and white wines.
This is not the first time that an appellation within the Loire has decided to leave InterLoire. In 2009 AOC Bourgueil decided to go it alone, after a vote that drew 89% support for a Déclaration Unilatérale d’Independence.
At the time, Bourgueil syndicate president Philippe Pitault blamed InterLoire’s over-generic approach to wine promotion.
This week he told Decanter.com, ‘The decision of Montlouis-sur-Loire just underlines that we were right to leave three years ago, as things have clearly not improved.
‘Each of our winemakers pays the same contribution as they used to pay to InterLoire, but now our marketing budget of €300,000 can be decided entirely by us. We might not be able to take ads in Paris Match, but we are in control of our own destiny.’
In December InterLoire president Jean-Martin Dutour said they were ‘surprised’ by the timing of Montlouis-sur-Louire’s departure.
‘We have just completely reorganised the way we work, and the division of our budget, following the specific requests of AOCs. So why leave before we have implemented the very reforms which they asked for?’
Chidaine was dismissive. ‘The overall budget is lower than before. I can’t see that the changes will make any difference.’
The InterLoire marketing budget for 2013 is €7.7m, a drop of 9% from last year. This is due, Dutour said, to the small harvest in 2012, which was 25-30% lower than 2011.
Written by Jane Anson in Bordeaux