An edited version of this news item was posted on www.decanter.com on 25/11/2006.
Ambitious plans were announced by Languedoc wine producers at their recent AGM in Narbonne. In an unprecedented move to boost export sales, around half of the overall €15 million budget has been allocated to key European, North American and Far East markets. The total pot consolidates funds from the CIVL (Languedoc wineries’ association), CIVR (Roussillon) and Inter-Oc (vin de pays) into the new Inter-Sud super-body, which will promote all the region’s wines as South of France/Sud de France. These joint funds have been matched by the Languedoc-Roussillon regional parliament thus doubling the projected budget, which will be spent on PR, supermarket promotions, on-trade events and trade & consumer wine shows. The export share has also been split 50-50 between ‘mature’ – the UK, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium and Denmark – and ‘developing’ markets – the US, Japan and Canada. Currently 35% of Languedoc appellation wines are exported and 57% of vin de pays d’Oc.
Progress towards creating one united wine trade federation in the South has been gathering momentum since the InterSud constitution was signed in June. However, legal and administrative fine detail appears to be slowing down the process, despite, on the whole, vocal support throughout the region. Government representative Eugène Julien described all the existing organisations as “a luxury” re-emphasising the need for “one cohesive body, very quickly too.” A further setback could be the delay in Paris ratifying the new cross-regional Languedoc AOC, which forms an essential part of marketing strategy and has been agreed by the INAO (national body controlling appellations). An unnamed commentator mentioned “rumours in the corridors of the Ministry” of possible problems ahead. Another unsettling development is the shock resignation of Fitou from the CIVL in October: it’s not yet clear whether they intend to be part of InterSud.