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Published:  23 July, 2008

Beaujolais may be hogging most of the gondola ends this week (Nouveau went on sale on 21 November), but according to French daily La Journe Vinicole (14 November) it is competing with a growing number of other primeur wines, not only from France, but also from Italy. The approved volume of 2002 Vins de Pays primeurs is 253,800 hectolitres (hl), a rise of almost 40,000hl on 2001, despite a harvest profile not conducive to the production of this type of wine', according to the report. Of the total, 48% (122,100hl) are red, 10% (25,600hl) are ros and 42% (106,100hl) are white. The biggest rise is for whites (up 31,000hl). Ros is up by 9,000hl, while reds are down 1,400hl on 2001 and 56,000hl on 2000. The overall rise is due largely to Vins de Pays from Languedoc-Roussillon (97,000hl, of which 51,000hl are white) and the Midi-Pyrnes, Ctes de Gascogne and Ctes du Tarn (48,000hl, of which 30,000hl are white). ONIVINS has suggested that the volume is so inflated because not all of the wines approved as primeurs will be sold as such. On offer since 6 November, Italian vino novello represents more than 150,000hl (18.5-20 million bottles), worth more than e80 million, according to the national Salon responsible for new wine' and the interprofessional organisation Coldiretti, which adds that Vino novello is now established as a market phenomenon'. Over the last 15 years production has risen more than 300%, especially in the centre and north, where 60% of the wines are sourced. Tuscany, Trentino-Alto Adige and the Veneto represent 50% of the total. They also now have the advantage of appearing on the market two weeks earlier than Beaujolais Nouveau. Chianti, for the time being, has dismissed the idea of early release.