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Major French wine merchants first to supply UK with screwcap

Leading Beaujolais merchant Georges Duboeuf and a giant association of co-operatives and growers in south-east France have become the first major French wine producers to supply the UK with screwcap wines.

Les Vins Georges Duboeuf is using screwcaps on two Beaujolais 2001 cru wines – a Morgon and a Juliénas – for UK supermarket chain Tesco. The supermarket giant has also persuaded Languedoc-Roussillon based Val d’Orbieu to supply its premium ‘Cuvée Mythique’ wine in screwcap bottles. The wines will go on sale later this autumn.

Tesco launched its screwcap range in April 2002. Around 1.5 million screwcap wines were sold during the first ten weeks of the launch, representing just under 5% of Tesco’s total wine sales. Since then, Tesco has been keen to increase the number of wines from Europe.

‘Following a request from Tesco, we agreed to supply them with Morgon and Juliénas with a screwcap,’ Georges Duboeuf said.

‘We have been supplying Beaujolais in screwcap for over five years to other markets, particularly Switzerland, which has been importing AC wine in screwcap for years.

Screwcap is an appropriate closure for all Beaujolais apart from Moulin &agrave Vent, which benefits from the two cubic centimetres of air that can penetrate the wine via cork.’

Les Vins Georges Duboeuf is also offering screwcap Beaujolais Nouveau 2002 to UK retailers First Quench, Sainsbury and Tesco. They are due to confirm in the next few weeks, he said.

Meanwhile, 2002 will see the first Duboeuf-made wine – from its first ever winery, completed earlier this year.

‘We wanted to have more control over the quality of the wines we bottle, and decided to invest in our own winery,’ Duboeuf said. ‘Five months ago we signed our first contracts with the winegrowers, and now have 70 contributors representing 130 hectares.’

Between 5000 and 8000 hectolitres of wine will be made at the new winery, which is expected to reach full capacity in 2005.

Written by Jim Budd11 September 2002

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