French Government Commits $216 Million to Wine Destruction

It's a challenging time to be in the wine business

Wine grapes in France
A bunch of grapes in the vineyards of Chateau de Ciceron in Ribaute, France

It’s been a challenging couple of years for the French wine industry, which has had to deal with both a global pandemic and catastrophic weather interfering with both demand for wine and their ability to grow the grapes that are used to make said wine. There’s also a broader issue for them to contend with: as EuroNews reported earlier this year, red wine consumption is down in France overall.

What’s a struggling winemaker to do? In this case, the answer might involve the age-old art of destroying what they recently created. As Agence France-Presse reports (via The Guardian), France’s government plans to dedicate €200 million (or a little more than $216 million at the current exchange rate) to efforts to dispose of unwanted and excess wine from the nation’s winemakers. As the French agriculture minister Marc Fesneau told the press, this money — which builds on funds allocated from the European Union for a similar purpose — is “aimed at stopping prices collapsing and so that winemakers can find sources of revenue again.”

This isn’t the only governmental effort dedicated to reshaping the wine industry and, more broadly, the nation’s agriculture. The French government has also provided financial incentives to both remove vines in Bordeaux and to encourage some wine growers to explore cultivating different crops.

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This decline in wine consumption isn’t limited to France. A recent Gallup poll in the United States noted that spirits consumption had exceeded wine consumption for the first time in the poll’s history. All of this is to say that there may be more changes to the world of French wine before too long.


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