What should you do with wine you don't want?

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I’ll do it for £10million

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Great news!

My wine-tasting trip begins in two weeks. Maybe some great bargains to take home.

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Offer to dispose of it for free, save them paying!

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Saw that earlier, on the face of it it seems very sad, is it simply massive overproduction in the last couple of decades or reduced consumption?

Ultimately growers/producers are not going to continue if it’s not profitable.

Anyone know if this is affecting large scale producers with good export options, or is it smaller/regional producers who rely on local sales and maybe aren’t big enough to be able to export cost-effectively.

There have been wine lakes in the past, along with butter mountains and wheat silos. I suppose it’s unlikely to be quality wine, whatever that is, then again crafty wine makers have always rebadged excess production. I wonder what @Rod_Smith has to say on the matter?

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It’s the EU providing 160 mio, with a top up of 40mio from the French government. If I was an EU country funding this, I’d be expecting some sort of discounted wine allocation.

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How many hectares were planted to vine from 2005-2010 as they eyed the Chinese buyers? If they are the ones being grubbed up probably won’t be missed.

Shocking! The real news is that the French start drinking Beer. How could they!

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It’s more that people are drinking less than that they are making more (or some of the latter and lots of the former). Jancis was interviewed on R4’s PM programme yesterday (towards the end) and explained that it is mainly cheap bulk wine from Languedoc, South West (Gard and Tarn) and outlying Bordeaux.
It’s all likely to be Vin de Table, Vin de France and perhaps some just qualified as Vin de Pays. But not very good. The kind of stuff destined for bag-in-box, litre plastic bottles, or fill-yourself containers at the cave.

This is different from the 1980s “EU wine lake” which some of us are old enough to remember. That was borne of protectionist practices in the quasi-communist co-operative systems of France (and a bit elsewhere), where gargantuan quantities of undrinkable wine were produced precisely because it was going to get distilled/destroyed for the subsidies paid, thereby making it irrelevant how it tasted, which engendered, er, ‘dubious’ vineyard and winery practices. Although it was more complicated than that.

This new development is largely because people, and especially youngsters, are drinking less, and what they are drinking isn’t cheap red wine. That’s not really a bad thing. And not at all surprising when governments are demonising alcohol as the ‘new tobacco’.

Some of the land will get replanted with orchards and other arable crops, and balance will come.

It won’t affect the kind of wines that we drink I’m sure!

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Excellent analysis and insight - thank you.

@GadgetMan and @Innocent_Bystander I saw your selfless offers to help out. How noble. I was quite moved!

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Although I did a lot of my growing up on a farm in deepest North Yorkshire, I am not a farmer, but isn’t the reason many wine regions historically became wine regions that vines like to grow in thin-soiled rocky ground whereas most other crops don’t?

In other words, if the only thing you can grow in your soul is vines, you might as well make something valuable out of the grapes!

Mark

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This is certainly true in dry places, and is also the reason why the wines aren’t much good in the first place. (The best wines come from poor land, but vitis vivifiera will grow pretty much anywhere).

In the arid parts of Languedoc the only substitute crops are olives and some herbs, in Bordeaux and the Tarn Valley apples and other fruit/nut trees will do fine. If the land is suitable for livestock (ex goats) then it should never have had vines in the first place.

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I know next to nothing about viticulture, but I would have thought that some of the poorer agricultural land in the UK would have suited it quite well.
I’m thinking of the hillside grazing traditionally used for sheep farming, especially in limestone areas of SE England or perhaps the Yorkshire Dales, although the latter might need a bit more global warming yet.

You are not alone in these thoughts!

Although one wonders who is going to drink all this (of necessity fairly expensive, and largely sparkling) wine.

Decanter reported a 74% growth in land under vine in England (and Wales) over the last five years (link).

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I guess success in Britain will depend largely on marketing. If French Champagne houses but more English vineyards that might help.

Aren’t some champagne houses starting to buy up land around the south coast of England?

We have fairly new vineyards and winery locally, on the north slope of Bredon Hill, which is geologically part of the Cotswolds. No idea what it is like, but I understand they are Whites and Roses ( can’t find e-acute.).

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Ee lad! Tha asn’t stood art int’ wind on a good “fresh” day int’ Yorkshire Dales. Not a lotta vines will either.
I actually lived on Ilkley Moor for a while and winters are shall we say interesting.

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