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Big push on Rhône Valley whites underway

In a press conference last week in Avignon, France, regional wine association Inter Rhône presented its plans for the next decade – including a big push on the region’s whites.

President of Inter Rhône Philippe Pellaton put forward the body’s ambitious commercial strategy from now until 2035 at the Maison des Vins on 8th December.

The Rhône Valley continues to make considerably more red wine than white and rosé, but Pellaton explained that reweighting the split of different colours will be one of their principal policies. Their intention is to increase production of white wines with a view to doubling shipments between now and 2031.

‘Historically, Rhône Valley Vineyards have always produced great white wines, but they are not very well known and deserve more recognition,’ said Pellaton.

‘There are many real gems that deserve the attention of the media, of consumers, and the trade. Just as our appellations offer a variety of different experiences, we have three main styles of white, from fresh and lively wines, to more fleshy and fruity wines, to wines for ageing.’

The focus will be on still wines, but there are also plans to increase production and sales of sparkling Rhône Valley whites such as Clairette de Die and Crémant de Die.

Also featuring in their plans was an increase in sales of rosé wines, though to a smaller extent. The focus for this will be on regional appellations AOC Côtes-du-Rhône and AOC Côtes-du-Rhône Villages rather than crus. Regarding red wines, their intention is to maintain volumes at their current level of 1.9m hectolitres per year.

Increases in production will be primarily through increasing yields and using more productive grape varieties rather than planting more vineyards.

The other main focus for the Rhône Valley over the next decade will be export. The region currently exports just 37% of their production; the intention is to increase this to 50% by 2035.

They have identified three priority markets to target (USA, Canada and China) and two emerging markets to engage with (South Korea and Singapore).

Other announcements included an increase to their communications budget and a new corporate identity.

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