Why France is spending 200 million euros to destroy surplus wine

Changing consumption habits has hit hard the industry

France-wine-destroying-reuters Representative Image | Reuters

A fund of 200 million euros was set aside by the French government recently to destroy surplus wine production in the country due to mounting challenges including fall in sales.

The decision was taken by the government to support the struggling wine producers in France due to rising marketing fluctuations. Various issues including changes in consumption habits, the cost of living crisis and post Covid pandemic phase has affected the wine production in the country.

Major wine producing regions including Bordeaux and Languedoc is struggling to meet the expenses due to the fall in demand. Reportedly, even the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, rise in prices of fuel and food has affected the production.

The fall in demand has led to over-production of wine increasing the financial difficulties for winemakers in the region.

According to Agriculture Minister, Marc Fesneau, an initial EU fund of 160 million euros was increased to 200 million euros, reported The Guardian.

Most of the allocated fund will be used for buying excess stock from the wine sellers.

The money was “aimed at stopping prices collapsing and so that winemakers can find sources of revenue again”, said Fesneau. He also added that the industry will need to adapt to the changing consumer patterns in the future.

Many consumers are preferring beers and other drinks nowadays forcing the winesellers to cut down their production.

Meanwhile, the alcohol from destroyed wine can be sold to companies for use in non-food products including cleansing products, hand sanitiser and so on.

“We’re producing too much, and the sale price is below the production price, so we’re losing money,” Jean-Philippe Granier, from the Languedoc wine producers’ association, was quoted by The Guardian.

Earlier, the agriculture ministry has announced 57 million euros to fund the pulling up of about 9,500 hectares of vines in Bordeaux region. Farmers are encouraged to invest in other products including olives as well.

European Commission data this year till June reveals that the wine consumption has fallen 7 per cent in Italy, 10 per cent in Spain, 15 per cent in France, 22 per cent in Germany and 34 per cent in Portugal.


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