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Bordeaux chief calls on producers to limit harvest

Christian Delpeuch called on producers to limit the yields of this year’s Bordeaux harvest to counter the plunging price of the region’s wine.

The president of the Bordeaux wine trade body (CIVB) told journalists yesterday that the onus was on producers.

‘The winegrowers’ unions must take the responsibility for this decision as the CIVB has no power,’ he said.

Delpeuch asked producers to limit production to the lowest recommended yield – around 55 hectolitres per hectare for generic Bordeaux.

The CIVB president warned winemakers that Bordeaux prices could enter a freefall if production was not curbed. He highlighted the fact that stocks are nearly one million hectolitres (hl) higher than they were last year.

‘We cannot add another one million hectolitres this year,’ he said.

Recent figures show that in the first six months of 2005, Bordeaux wine exports fell by 17.9% in value and that the current market price of a barrel (900 litres) of generic Bordeaux wine is around €650 (£444, US$792).

‘This vicious cycle must be stopped,’ said Delpeuch. ‘If another large quantity of Bordeaux wines hit the market, international buyers will not rush to buy – they’ll wait for prices to fall.’

The abundant 2004 vintage was slow to sell at the Bordeaux futures market this year, partly due to the large amount of wine produced.

Winemakers in the region also fell short of industrial distillation targets after France asked Brussels to finance a crisis distillation of surplus wines. Bordeaux winemakers only handed over under half the volume of the 500,000hl target.

France’s national appellations body, the INAO, will publish the authorised yields for the 2005 vintage next week.

Written by Oliver Styles

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