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Leaving the Languedoc

Posted on December 7, 2010 by Enotriaadmin There have been 0 comments

grubbed up vines

Just back from a trip around the Languedoc to visit some of the fantastic new producers from the Great Western Wines portfolio. I came back wondering how an area with such good wines can be so deeply mired in the “crise viticole”. The statistics are stark. Over the past ten years many Languedoc vineyards have been abandoned, a further 100,000 hectares have been grubbed up, and production has fallen from 20 million hectolitres to 11 million hectolitres. Thus, the reduction in output from this single region is greater than the entire annual wine exports of Australia; a total of 8 million hectolitres. Statistics are one thing; seeing a forlorn empty vineyard with a pile of old wood lying next to it is another. Florence Guy, of the beautiful Château Coujan, is pragmatic: “We have decided to plant aromatics like thyme which will be made into essential oils at the local distillery, there are not many other uses for old vineyard sites”. Let’s hope that the market recovers before many more vignerons go under. In the meantime, bulk prices are increasing but this is still a treasure trove of absurdly good bargains from the area, and, as Florence says “nothing makes better barbeques than vine wood”.

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