Bordeaux winemakers are facing a lower demand for the region’s red wines, and some producers are proposing an unconventional method to balance the red wine supply.
During the Vinexpo industry conference in Paris this week, producers in the Bordeaux region are petitioning the French government to assist in destroying vines and excess wine. The winemakers are seeking financial grants from officials to pull some 10 percent of the region’s vineyards and transform their already-fermented wine into industrial alcohol, according to The Guardian.
That percentage accounts for nearly 37,000 acres of vineyard owners’ land, and winemakers are asking for some €10,000 (over $10,600) per hectare that’s unearthed.
The proposal comes as a response to overproduction in the region. It’s hoped that a lower supply will help to balance falling prices and inflated supply, which could save the region from economic collapse and preserve some 80,000 jobs.
“Whether I make good or bad [wine] I can’t sell it. People are drinking other things. They prefer beer or fizzy drinks to wine. We’ve been living below the break-even point for more than 10 years now,” Didier Cousinez — a spokesperson for winemakers in the Gironde region where Bordeaux is located — told a French media network, according to The Guardian.
Consumption of all wine in France has decreased some 60 percent over the past six decades, with red wine consumption dropping 32 percent in the past 10 years, per a 2022 survey. The survey links this decline to fewer people eating red meat and fewer families dining together.
Wine estates in the Côtes du Rhône and Languedoc regions also reported shrinking demand.