France has been granted the long-awaited right for a ‘crisis distillation’ by the EU.
The European Wine Management Committee agreed on 28 April that France will be allowed to distil 1.5m hl of AOC wine from around the country
Under the same agreement, Spain has also been granted the right to distil 4m hl of table wine.
French wine makers can begin the distillation – the alcohol must be produced for industrial use only – from around May 23 (when the EU publishes the exact rules) until July 15.
The French minister of agriculture, Dominique Bussereau, first asked for this distillation of unsold stocks at the end of January as part of his package of financial aid to wine makers. He was ‘thrilled that the decision has finally come through,’ he said.
Not everyone is satisfied, however. The level agreed is less than the 2.5m hl that was asked for by the CCVF (Confédération des Coopératives Vinicoles).
Written by Jane Anson