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New Bordeaux Sup Syndicate head

Bernard Farges was this week declared new president of France’s biggest and most powerful union, the Syndicate des Vins de Bordeaux et Bordeaux Superieur.

With over 6,500 members, the Syndicate carries a good deal of weight in French wine politics. The post has been vacant since July, when Alain Vironneau became head of the Bordeaux Wine Bureau (CIVB).

Before being appointed Farges told decanter.com the crisis in French wine continued despite the excitement over Bordeaux.

‘The prices achieved by some 2005 wines do not affect most members of the Syndicate of Bordeaux, and this remains a critical time for us.’

Farges, 41, a winemaker from Mauriac in Entre deux Mers, begins his presidency with the positive news that Bordeaux sent 368,000 hectolitres (hl) of wine for distillation this year, 80% of it from the AOC Bordeaux appellation.

This is less than the 500,000hl hoped for, but significantly more than the 180,000hl sent last year.

‘This is in large part due to the extra money that was made available to encourage distillation, from a loan sought by my predecessor Alain Vironneau,’ Farges said. Wine sent to be made into industrial alcohol received €750 per hectolitre for red and €550 per hectolitre for white – in many cases higher than the market price.

‘This, together with the successful grubbing up of vines, and the increase in exports for Bordeaux, means there is light at the end of the tunnel, but many property owners are still in terrible difficulty, and my first priority will be to help them find new markets for their wines,’ Farges said.

Written by Jane Anson

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