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Published:  23 July, 2008

The CIVB is preparing the final details for its proposed vine-pull programme and has also announced that it will allow producers to release more of the 2004 vintage - which is currently capped at a limit of 50hl/ha for most of Bordeaux - if they can prove they have market for it'.

According to Alan Sichel, head of the Sichel ngociant business and chairman of the ngociants interprofessional organisation, the programme will start after the 2005 vintage.

Growers will be offered E15,000 per hectare in year one; E12,000 per hectare in year two; and E10,000 per hectare in year three. The idea is to get the process moving by encouraging them to act now.' The cash will not be available for vineyards planted in the last five years. Sichel said they were hoping for a 10% reduction in total vineyard area, equivalent to 15,000 hectares.

The CIVB has also decided to allow producers to release more wine from their 2004 vintage stocks. Last year it was decided that the maximum production allowed would be 50hl/ha (slightly more in the less-prestigious AOCs Haut-Medoc and Medoc) in an attempt to put supply and demand back in balance. If you have a market for your wine and can sell it, then it is common sense to allow that to happen,' said Sichel. Those who want to release more wine will be allowed to, up to around 5hl/ha, if they pay a small fee. The money raised would then go towards funding the distillation of wine that has no market.'

The CIVB has taken on a 20-year E60 million loan to pay for its programmes, secured by the government. Sichel added that he was increasingly confident about the future of the region: Bordeaux still sells 500 million litres of wine a year. We will not protect everyone and some producers will disappear, but quality is improving and we are all working hard, lots is possible.'

By Jack Hibberd