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Vinisud closes with producers optimistic

The 8th Mediterranean wine trade show, Vinisud, closed its doors on Wednesday with exhibitors bullish about the state of the market.

Exhibitors said they had seen the return of both UK and French buyers, an increase in interest from Asia, while Dutch and Belgium markets continued loyal.

‘It was a much more optimistic show than 2006,’ said Philippe Cros, of the Conseil Interprofessionnel des Vins du Languedoc. ‘And there were a lot more French buyers,’ he said.

Vinisud president Bernard de Roquette-Buisson said the difficult trading years of 2001 to 2004 were over. ‘We are on the upside of the slope,’ he said.

There was optimism also that, as prices have risen, the militant wine group CRAV (Comité régional d’action viticole) – whose tactics included setting fire to wine tankers, dynamitings and attempting to derail a TGV – had quietened down.

Despite the upbeat tone of the show, export figures released on Wednesday by the Federations des Exportateurs de Vins et Spiritueux did not paint so rosy a picture.

In value terms exports in 2007 from the Languedoc-Roussillon area were down by 2.5% on 2006, although the Cotes du Rhone area was up by 10.1%, compensating for southern France as a whole.

At the show the 2007 wines of the new AOC Languedoc appellation, unveiled six months ago, were well received.

Boisset, which pioneered wine in Tetra Pak with its French Rabbit range, notched up another first in the form of a Chardonnay in an aluminium bottle. It will be launched in Canada.

The company also said it would re-launch French Rabbit – which has sold well outside Europe – in France this year, and it will add an organic Green Rabbit ‘sometime soon’.

Vinisud 2008 visitor numbers were 32,600, down from the expected 35,000, but up by about 1,000 on 2006.

Foreign visitor numbers also increased from 23% of the total in 2006, to 28% this year. About 300 visiting buyers from China, America and Brazil were there as guests of the show.

Written by Sophie Kevany

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