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How much (or how little) wine in Champagne?

>> Tuesday, October 06, 2009

There have been lots of discussions in champagne this year on how much the growers will be permitted to harvest. Curiously, the limit is not set until the beginning of September. Wit the crash in champagne sales the big houses wanted to limit the yield to 7500 kg/ha, compared to 13 000 kg/ha last year. Almost halving harvest volume. They fear a glut of champagne, falling prices, loss of the exclusive aura around the bubbly etc. Smaller producers were keener on keeping the yield higher, perhaps more concerned about this year’s revenue. The result was a compromise: the maximum yield was set to 9700 kg/ha. But as often is the case, this is not the whole story. On top of that, there is an allowance for 4300 kg/ha to be set aside for the “reserve” wine, theoretically used to even out years with lower yields. So, in total we then have a yield of 14,000 kg/ha. Why do they count in kg/ha instead of hectolitres/ha as everyone else in France? Don’t know. If you make the calculation 9700 kg/ha is the same as 62 hl/ha and 14,000 kg/ha represents a hefty yield of almost 100 hl/ha. Perhaps that’s why? Read more: or One cannot help being amazed by this blatant price fixing. It is not to improve the quality that the yields are restricted (although that might actually be a good idea). Rather, it is simply in order to artificially inflate the prices so that the champagne becomes more expensive to the consumers and wine lovers than what it would need to be. It would perhaps be a nice case for the EU competition and open market authorities to put their teeth in?


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