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Published:  23 July, 2008

Sauvignon Blanc has chalked up major gains in the Chardonnay heartlands of Burgundy and California. In France, the INAO has handed Sauvignon de St-Bris - a VDQS wine - AOC status, making Sauvignon Blanc the third white grape variety permitted in Burgundy AOCs, along with Chardonnay and Aligot. The new AOC St-Bris covers 895 hectares (ha) of Sauvignon Blanc vines, predominantly in the commune of St-Bris (Yonne), but extending to the villages of Chitry, Irancy, Quenne and Vincelottes, with 100ha currently under production. The official decree, which applies retrospectively to the 2001 vintage, fixes maximum yields at 58hl/ha, and minimum/maximum alcohol content at 10%/ 12.8% ABV (as opposed to 9.5%/12.5% ABV for the VDQS wines). Meanwhile, wine advisory firm MKF claims that Sauvignon Blanc grapes will fetch higher prices than Chardonnay for the first time with this year's vintage. The prediction was issued in MKF's Grape Trends Report, basing the calculation on a 27% decline in Chardonnay prices (from $1,260 to $915 a ton) and a 13% rise in Sauvignon ($798 to $902) in California since 1997.