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The French Wine May Have A Rough Time This 2007

Aug 18, 2007
Almost two whole months of rain have nearly ruined large parts of this year's wine harvest in France. The damage is especially bad in Bordeaux. Mildew, thriving in the warm and humid weather, has wiped out entire crops of some of the smaller vineyards, attacking not only the leaves, but in some cases even the grapes. While it's certainly terrible news for the producers themselves, what does it mean for French wines as a whole?

From The Independant:
This is a calamity for the worst-hit growers but not necessarily for the French wine industry. A much reduced 2007 wine harvest might help to push up wholesale wine prices, which have been depressed by a glut of cheap wine on the world market. Huge unsold stocks of table wine, and even the cheaper Appellation Controlee wines, remain from 2006 and 2005.

As for the quality of the 2007 vintage, all is still uncertain. A warm and dry late summer could still produce excellent wines.

I feel like the French will not have a break when it comes to winemaking. Another problem that may arise this year is that wine producers are looking at a bottle shortage. The two main glass manufacturers cannot produce enough wine bottles to meet demand, but say they will be able to catch up by the fall. Some members of the industry feel that there is more to it, though.

From Wine Spectator Online:
"Glass manufacturers have decided to keep their stock down to a strict minimum and are reducing their range of bottles," said Alain Sichel, President of the Union des Maisons de Bordeaux. "They will only produce special items when they have a big order from several customers, making it complicated for marketers to use original colors or screw caps, for example," he explained. But glass manufacturers feel that wineries have only themselves to blame, as they are largely responsible for the consolidation of the market in the first place. "When there were many suppliers, they were at the mercy of their clients, which ultimately led to the smaller players going out of business," said Didier Rica, marketing manager for Saverglass, a medium-size glass packaging manufacturer.

The wine industry isn't accepting the explanation or the blame, especially one of France's top producers, Michel Chapoutier, who is also president of the Union des Maisons du Rhone. "BSN-Glasspack and Saint Gobain used to systematically offer us better deals than their competitors," he said. "Today they are trying to frighten us so we'll accept price increases." Chapoutier has suggested that French merchants join forces to invest in their own furnace to break free from what he described as an "illicit cartel."
About the Author
The author writes about Bare Foot Wine and blogs at http://www.celebrate-wine.com/.
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