Awards and citations:

1997: Le Prix du Champagne Lanson Noble Cuvée Award for investigations into Champagne for the Millennium investment scams

2001: Le Prix Champagne Lanson Ivory Award for

2011: Vindic d'Or MMXI – 'Meilleur blog anti-1855'

2011: Robert M. Parker, Jnr: ‘This blogger...’:

2012: Born Digital Wine Awards: No Pay No Jay – best investigative wine story

2012: International Wine Challenge – Personality of the Year Award

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Bourgueil UDI: the origins of conflict?

A press release 'Les vins de Loire sous une même bannière de Nantes jusqu'à Blois' from Interloire issued during 2007 announcing the expansion of Interloire to include the Nantes' vineyards unwittingly highlighted the origins of the current conflict within Interloire.

Here are two crucial quotes from the release:

'Dès janvier 2008, elle lancera une nouvelle campagne de communication, confiée à l’agence Jump, mettant en avant la Loire, afin de valoriser son image d’entité viticole.'

(From January 2008 a new publicity campaign will be launched by the Jump agency that will concentrate on the Loire promoting its image as a wine producing region.)

‘De la même façon, la fusion renforcera l’importance du négoce qui assure à lui seul 60 % de la mise en marché des vins, contre 25 % pour les vignerons et 15 % pour les caves coopératives, alors que la commercialisation, au sein de l’interprofession Anjou-Touraine, était également répartie entre négoce et producteurs.’

(The merger reinforces the importance of the négociants who will now account for 60% of sales, compared to 25% for the vignerons and 15% for the cave co-operatives. When Interloire just covered Anjou-Touraine sales were equally split between the négoce and the producers.)

The négoce has always been strong in the Pays Nantais so it was inevitable that when the Vins de Nantes merged with Interloire that the balance of power between the négoce and the producers would shift to being massively in favour of the négoce. The potential for conflict was there allied with the decision to promote an image of the Loire as Brand Loire to copy the Brand Australia approach that has until recently worked so well for Australia. The fact that the Loire's two largest négociants are now pan-France companies with their headquarters in Alsace (Grands Chais de France) and Bordeaux (Castel Frères) may not have helped.

Two years on from the merger the tensions have become evident. Can the two sides find an accommodation? Or will the producers continue to feel marginalised and railroaded by the négociants? It is worth remembering that, although the négociants sell much the greater volume of wine, it is the top Loire producers who raise the region's reputation. Currently the Loire has much going for it – a series of good vintages, especially the very promising 2009; an often high reputation for interesting wines at reasonable prices; and, if wine drinkers around the world really are looking for lower alcohol wines that are food friendly, then the Loire is one of the few wine producing regions that can and does deliver such wines.

Interloire's AGM will be held in Nantes on 22nd December – malgré le météo sera une reunion chaud! Time for accommodation and compromise, I trust.

See earlier posting on Bourgueil's UDI here and here.


Today's edition of La Nouvelle République covers the recent vote by Bourgueil to quit Interloire as well as a report that the budget for the Salon des Vins de Loire has been cut on the insistence of the négoce so that this popular hitherto annual Salon will in future become bi-annual.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In Presse Océan, I saw an article indicating that Muscadet growers are also considering this UDI move.