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France - Roussillon: 'Present and Future', a mini thesis.

Master of Wine or Master of Methodology? Admittedly, it's partly a case of sour grapes: the IMW failed this dissertation outright. While I still maintain some of their criticisms were unfounded or inaccurate even (and I can back that up), I accept it's no masterpiece but wasn't even given the chance to improve and resubmit it. If you have the time and inclination (yawn), read on below ("be brutal," I'm used to it)... Anyway, hats off to all those who've managed to walk the unpredictable MW dissertation tightrope, you're a better man/woman than me. I've lost interest in spending a huge amount of time, again (and money), doing (another) boring formulaic piece of work that seems to be more about 'methodology' than wine. In any case, I did pass the tasting and written exams at least. Here's a little intro:
"The Roussillon is usually referred to along with the Languedoc as forming the largest wine region in France. Although there are parallels in terms of wine styles, production structure and social issues (linked to the industry’s importance as an employer); Roussillon has a distinct identity and culture, as well as different climate and terrain, with a considerably smaller area under vine than the Languedoc. Nevertheless, the Roussillon’s image for wine remains largely polarised or unknown.
With its history of producing Vins Doux Naturels (VDN) fortified wines to satisfy once substantial, and lucrative, domestic demand (over one third of plantings is still dedicated to this); the region has had to face the challenges of adapting to changing tastes and markets. However, Roussillon winemakers have already revealed new dynamism based on the belief that the area is capable of offering a rich diversity of styles including value-for-money brands, Mediterranean varietals, fine estate wines and icon reds, in addition to unique sweet wines..."
And now, the serious full-monty...


(i) Context
(ii) Aims and objectives
(iii) Literature review and historical background
(iv) Climate and terrain

(i) Quantitative data and research
(ii) Qualitative field research
(iii) SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis

(A) Production and Sales
(i) Production 2005-2006
(ii) Vine plantings/removal by variety 2005
(iii) Production v shipments 2001-2006
(iv) Shipments by channel France & export
(v) Sales in France 2006
(vi) French exports by value and country
(B) Wine Industry Structure
(i) Appellation and winegrower framework
(ii) Co-operative cellars and merchant houses
(C) The Roussillon: Product and Positioning
(i) ‘International’ wine styles
(ii) Vins Doux Naturels and Muscat
(iii) Quality wine estates
(iv) New approaches to regional labelling and marketing

(i) SWOT Analysis
(ii) Conclusion

Production and sales data in tables (section 3A)
Winemaker, trade and wine writer surveys
List of the 30 surveyed wine estates


(i) Context
The Roussillon is usually referred to along with the Languedoc as forming the largest wine region in France. Although there are parallels in terms of wine styles, production structure and social issues (linked to the industry’s importance as an employer); Roussillon has a distinct identity and culture, as well as different climate and terrain, with a considerably smaller area under vine than the Languedoc. Nevertheless, the Roussillon’s image for wine remains largely polarised or unknown.
With its history of producing Vins Doux Naturels (VDN) fortified wines to satisfy once substantial, and lucrative, domestic demand (over one third of plantings is still dedicated to this (*1)); the region has had to face the challenges of adapting to changing tastes and markets. However, Roussillon winemakers have already revealed new dynamism based on the belief that the area is capable of offering a rich diversity of styles including value-for-money brands, Mediterranean varietals, fine estate wines and icon reds, in addition to unique sweet wines.
Growers and companies in the Roussillon have been making difficult decisions and working hard to safeguard their economic future and attract investment into the area. In the face of tough competition from other French regions, as well as their European neighbours and the New World, the local wine industry appears, on the whole, willing to tackle any fundamental problems and keep moving forwards.
Co-operative cellars, declining although increasingly dynamic, still account for three-quarters of production (Cutzach, personal communication [PC] 2007). A rising number of independent growers are striving to make and sell individual terroir wines, some more profitably than others. In-between, high-profile and ambitious estate owners cum merchant houses, from within and outside the region, are establishing themselves. The future will determine whether this evolving structure favours progressive quality and successful positioning of a diverse product range targeted at different consumers; from supermarket impulse buyers, affluent wine tourists to vintage collectors.

(ii) Aims and objectives
A SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis of the Roussillon wine industry will be undertaken in order to identify current challenges and the reasons why; and to consider positive developments and future directions for competitive positioning in home and key global markets. The SWOT analysis will thus summarise findings and ideas drawn from the following four areas.
Firstly, an overview of the Roussillon’s history, identity, climate and terrain forms part of the literature review and background section. This sets the scene by looking at the region’s winemaking traditions, culture and image perceived from within and the outside. In addition, a commentary on climatic and geographical data highlights some of the region’s more tangible strengths and weaknesses.
Secondly, an analysis of production and shipment statistics is essential to measure the scale and nature of any problems, and positive trends. These cover plantings across the region, volumes and quality/types of wine with an indication of value/turnover. Sales of Roussillon wines in France and exports are also compared to figures for Languedoc-Roussillon on the whole, as well as other regions such as Côtes du Rhône.
Thirdly, the local industry’s structure and politics will be discussed: the Appellation Contrôlée (AOC) and union framework, co-operative system and merchant houses. This section puts the spotlight particularly on co-operative cellars – socio-economic background, number of growers today and possible models for the future - investigating amalgamation trends, joint ventures and technical & marketing advance.
Lastly, an examination of the Roussillon’s product offer and ways of promoting it, looking at the following topics in the context of France, the UK, USA and Germany (‘what, how and where’):
  • Does the Roussillon have suitably ‘international’ wine styles? This covers contemporary brand building, appeal of Mediterranean varietals and red blends, and the market for rosé.
  • VDN with particular emphasis on Muscat, sweet and dry styles.
  • Creating and positioning quality wine estates, including investment potential in the region.
  • New approaches to regional labelling and marketing: development of AOC, cru sub-zones, producer/trade federations and the expansion of wine tourism.
Therefore, the results and analysis derived from these four broad areas will provide a summary of the present situation, underlining the region’s weaknesses and threats; and principal developments for building future success, based on strengths and opportunities.

(iii) Literature review and historical background
A valuable information source in French was specialist publications and websites including Vitisphere.com, a Midi Libre special supplement and La Revue du Vin de France. A review of Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast provided influential points of view from the USA. From the UK wine press, features in Decanter and Wine & Spirit are summarised here and news items quoted elsewhere as relevant. This work also incorporates key points from published articles by the author (IMW student 2005-07). Authoritative books in English include titles by Strang (2002), George (2003), Berry (1992), Jefford (2006) and Healey (2005). As these are either not recent, about France overall or travel focused, a questionnaire was sent to three of these writers for up-to-date opinions.
George (2006) asserts that “Roussillon is often grouped with Languedoc to describe southern France’s vast vineyard. But they are very different, with Roussillon having a distinct historical and vinous identity. For much of the Middle Ages, until the Treaty of the Pyrenees was signed in 1659, it was part of Spain.” To be strictly accurate, as Perpignan’s 13th Century Palais des Rois de Majorque shows, the region has a complex past fought over by kings of Aragon, Majorca and France following the eclipse of the old Catalan kingdom (*2). Historically, the region’s northwest segment along the Agly valley, Fenouillèdes and Corbières hills – traced by the former border villages Latour-de-France and Bélesta de la Frontera - was not part of Catalonia but attached to Cathar and Occitan country.
The Roussillon’s département name is Pyrénées Orientales (PO), called French or even north Catalonia by some; it stretches north to south from the Corbières to the Spanish border, and towards Andorra in the west. There are 30,000 hectares (ha) under vine, 10% of the total surface area of Languedoc-Roussillon. It reached its height in 1880 with nearly 80,000 ha, despite the arrival of powdery mildew, declined then settled post-phylloxera at 65,000 in 1906; and remained around this level until the 1960s (*3). Viticulture is the region’s principal form of agriculture, the latter being the mainstay of its economy along with tourism (*4).
Replanting after phylloxera had been geared to production of mass market wines for the urban working class. Even in the PO, wines below 11° went from 50% in 1878 to over two-thirds in 1904. The steady production surge across the Midi and nationally soon surpassed domestic consumption; resulting in collapsing prices and ultimately political crisis in 1907, when there were violent demonstrations across the south. 42 growers’ unions, who began joining forces from 1900 in the PO and Hérault, formed the Midi Farm Workers Federation in 1903 (Thomas 2007).
By the 1930s, most Languedoc-Roussillon growers continued making cheap table wine unconvinced that investing in quality would obtain significantly higher prices. It was the region’s already sought-after VDN, such as Frontignan, Rivesaltes and Maury that harboured its first AOCs. VDN was recognised as an ‘authentic product’ in the Roussillon in 1872, and a 1914 law restricted it to four varieties: Muscat, Grenache, Maccabeu and Malvoisie. The Banyuls area had already been delimited by 1905 and was set by decree in 1936; in 1950, the merger of eight co-op cellars signalled a boom that lasted more than 20 years after the War (Thomas 2007).
Cannavan (2005) discusses current dilemmas: “…ravishing sweet wines offering endless complexity at bargain-basement prices. This raised many questions too, with some producers close to despair that the struggle to sell these traditional wines had almost defeated them. Some have abandoned the style to peruse new markets for dry wines, and there is a real danger some superb producers will join them, losing some of the world’s most distinctive wines.”
Brook (2005) is more frank: “The reasons for Roussillon’s dim reputation are not hard to discern. Fortified wines are still being produced in prodigious quantities, and although the best bottles can be sublime, the worst are atrocious. Cooperatives account for 75% of production: some are well run and produce sound inexpensive wines with a smattering of exceptional cuvées. But no region has ever ridden to glory on the backs of cooperatives. What the region needs to attract international attention is seriously good wines from outstanding estates.”
Smith (2006) agrees: “For some time, I remain convinced there are great terroirs in Languedoc and Roussillon. I strongly believe there are estates and growers whose consistent quality is beyond doubt.” In a Roussillon - Priorat taste-off, Gerbelle (2007) declares that “whereas Priorat has become international and seen its prices soar, Roussillon is struggling to assert its identity and reputation… The wines are twice as expensive as the roussillon-villages, unjustified in most cases.”
Hughes (2004) evokes “…this tendency towards diversity at the root of the current wave of enthusiasm about Roussillon’s wines rather than an innate resemblance to Priorat. As newcomers mix with a handful of long-term visionaries… individuality is flourishing as never before.” Marcus (2007) highlights other pros and cons: “Roussillon is beginning to excel with Grenache harvested from vines up to a century old… my tastings point to high quality among Syrah-based wines as well… France’s southern regions are rich in obscure but delicious wines. The tough part is finding them in the United States. The wines are made in diverse styles, but the vintners who produce them have one thing in common: they are bewildered by the vagaries of the wine trade.”
Lawther (2007) believes: “It’s the area which is home to the most excitement in terms of progress and new discoveries. Languedoc led the way in the 1990s with a return to defined terroirs and string of ambitious domaines, but the staunchly Catalan frontier of Roussillon has since taken up the baton.” Lawther (2006) also asks the question: “Are new investors beneficial to the region? New investment will provide a guideline to restructuring the industry locally, rescue certain vineyards and communes from decline and provide positive promotion in France and overseas.”
Other data takes the form of reports from producer associations, research establishments and government bodies. Information obtained from, for example the Conseil Interprofessionnel des Vins du Roussillon (CIVR), is mostly statistical, factual or subjective. Its use is therefore discussed further under methodology; and details appear in the main body of the work to substantiate the argument as appropriate, and as tables in the appendices. Academic and research material cited in the text was also sourced from organisations such as the Syndicat du Cru Muscat de Rivesaltes and Tresserre Station Viti-vinicole. The salient points were as follows.
Two consumer studies were carried out on taste perceptions of VDN (*5): one in comparison with ‘competing products’, the other comparing three VDN styles. The benchmark Muscat de Rivesaltes received average scores for colour (‘too light’), aroma and taste; and was judged too sweet. A coloured wine (slightly deeper) was better appreciated and deemed better balanced. Across the Ambré wines, consumers on the whole liked the colour but less so aromas and were divided over flavour; and purchase impulse was low. Reactions to reds (Grenat, Tuilé, Grand Roussillon) were more polarised but most favourable among male VDN consumers. In addition, most French VDN drinkers still perceive these wines as an aperitif.
Technical material by Guichet (2007) highlights progress in adapting viticultural management more closely to the market. The recommended practices enable growers to produce suitable Muscat fruit for both VDN, regulated to limit yields, while increasing Vin de Pays volumes from the same vineyard. Different techniques are applied according to parcel (soil, vine age, microclimate) such as pruning, canopy management and picking dates. Gibiard (2007) investigates colour and aroma profiles in Muscat and how they can be optimised by winemaking. The key points cover fruit ripeness, skin maceration, reductive/oxidative handling, yeast selection and lees contact; and the pitfalls to avoid.
In summary, published material on Roussillon raises many issues that range from its winemaking culture to difficulty in making its own statement. The socio-economic importance of grape growing is apparent in times of crisis and concentration on VDN both a problem and part of its unique character. A shift from cooperatives to individuals and high quality red wines continues, accelerated by investment in the region. Changing tastes demonstrate the need to adapt vineyards and attitudes.

(iv) Climate and terrain
Homogenised data for the whole Roussillon seems too simplistic to reflect the subtly different climate zones across the region. Therefore, annual figures are quoted from three weather stations over a ten year period: Perpignan, Banyuls-sur-mer on the southern coast and Saint Paul de Fenouillet inland in the northwest (*6).
From 1997 to 2006, the annual mean daily temperature in Perpignan (altitude 42 m, latitude 42°44’24"N, longitude 02°52’30"E) was 16°C (highest recorded 38°) with 140 days over 25° and 11 below zero. Average yearly rainfall was 570 mm. For the same period in Banyuls (alt. 80 m, lat. 42°28’24"N, long. 03°07’00"E), it was 16.8° (highest 40.5°) with 161 days over 25°, three below zero and 789 mm of rain. From 1995 to 2004 in Saint Paul (alt. 205 m, lat. 42°48’30"N, long. 02°33’30"E), the mean temperature was 14.9° (high of 41°) with 138 days over 25 and 12 below zero; and 676 mm rainfall. Average wind speed is 17 km/h (highest recorded 140), an important factor in growing conditions especially reducing disease pressure.
The Roussillon is marked by three mountain ranges: the Corbières to the north, Albères hills in the south along the Spanish border, and Mount Canigou and the Pyrenees to the west/southwest. Three major rivers flow east across the plain - the Agly, Têt and Tech – which more or less divide the appellation areas of Côtes du Roussillon Villages (CDRV), Côtes du Roussillon (CDR) and the Côte Vermeille (Collioure, Banyuls) (*3). Vineyard altitudes range from below 50 metres near the coast to over 500 in St. Martin de Fenouillet (Richards PC2007).
The region’s geology is dramatically different from north to south with a remarkable variation in soil composition. A large segment of the north is made up of red soils on compact limestone, with chalkier or stonier outcrops between Rivesaltes and Salses-le-Chateau; and a band of black schist and marl either side of Maury. South of here, the villages of Caramany and Lesquerde sit on granite sand and gneiss, which is also found across the mountainous south. The river plains are dominated by silt sand and clay becoming stonier with altitude. The central Aspres zone is mostly composed of clay and stones, with much limestone and red soil around Thuir and silt either side of Trouillas. Dark schist and sand return on the sheer terraces along the Côte Vermeille. Average yields in 2005 and 2006 were 35 hl/ha or less from old vines in meagre sites (*1).
The Roussillon’s warm, relatively dry climate and varied terrain match quality viticulture and its Mediterranean, above all red varieties. The schist soils and hot microclimate around Maury can produce first class Grenache fruit, especially at altitude to avoid over-ripeness. Elevated sites are also proving themselves for a revival of quality white wines. Syrah has made its mark in the chalk/clay soils around Vingrau and Rasiguères’ hillside vineyards. Mourvèdre thrives in the warm maritime climate of Collioure. Periods of drought and low yields, while restricting volumes, could hinder wines in demand.


(i) The first stage, after the review of authoritative published material, was to examine comprehensive statistics and reports from trade and research bodies to establish the status quo for the region, identifying difficulties and encouraging trends. This quantitative data and research lend solid weight to the argument and ultimately findings for the SWOT analysis and subsequent conclusions, as already outlined in the aims and objectives. The majority of these statistics were supplied by the CIVR (*1).
They cover plantings, volumes produced and surpluses for the 2006 and 2005 vintages in detail: across all appellations, vins de pays, vins de tables and wine styles; the regional total versus the co-operatives, as well as by village/cellar. This paints the up-to-date, general picture showing what is being produced where. For a comparison reflecting recent trends, there is also a breakdown by appellation, colour and style of production and shipments from 2001 to 2006 inclusive. In addition, sales are broken down by channel (percentages home versus export) for dry and VDN wines; year on year value figures in French supermarkets and discounters by product; and Languedoc-Roussillon exports are compared to regions such as Côtes du Rhône and Bordeaux, set in their international context. Key stats are extracted as relevant and analysed in section 3A; and detailed tables included in the appendices (i-vi) for reference.
Further useful quantitative data is taken from a sampling of French supermarkets’ scanned sales of Muscat and other VDN (*7). The sample size was 500 stores representing 16% of super- and hypermarket turnover (= the multiple grocery sector excluding hard discount), based on InfoScan Census® barcode figures that in turn cover 5500 stores, i.e. 96% of total turnover for this sector (where alcohol sales came to 3.56 billion Euros (€) in 2006). The results are incorporated and evaluated in the following sections as part of the investigation into the future for the VDN category.
The two consumer research studies on sensory perceptions of VDN (*5) mentioned in the background, were based on 362 and 122 interviews respectively (25 minutes each) including tastings of typical VDN products. These were conducted in Lille and Paris, consistently strong areas for the category, among 25 to 45 year olds - half VDN consumers and half non-consumers but regular aperitif drinkers - 60% women and 40% men. This age group was targeted as not representative of the traditional VDN market. Their objectives were to discover consumption and shopping habits as well as taste impressions. The results raise concerns for Roussillon producers, although are by no means entirely negative. Finally, Dubrule’s report (2007) on wine tourism provided background on assessing how the local industry should capitalise on new opportunities.
(ii) The second important part of the methodology was field research that took the form of structured interviews with selected winemakers (estate owners or managers) and industry professionals in the Roussillon; and a survey of buyers and journalists in France and export markets by questionnaire. This information and opinion offer an interesting qualitative dimension to the work, by adding depth and understanding rather than for their statistical significance. The questionnaire approach was also necessary given the limited availability of country-specific quantitative research or statistical information outside of France. The results are used to develop and substantiate the arguments subsequently streamlined by the SWOT.
Concerning field research on the ground, the methodology and rationale were as follows. Initially, a questionnaire (appendix Q1) was sent to 150 wine estates (one third of the region's independent growers) on the assumption that the unprompted reply rate would be low (six). A selection was then made to follow up with field visits and/or personal communication - using the same questionnaire as a framework - bringing the total sample size to 30 estates (Q1b), not numerous but a respectable 20% of the original target group. The selection criteria included location (to get a good spread across the region), vineyard and production structure (one-man bands to many employees), when the domaine was founded (start-ups to established names) and stature (based on renown, quality, prices etc.).
In summary, the winemaker survey embraces properties from Domaine Pechpeyrou at 1.7 ha (Guitaut PC2007) to Dauré’s (PC2007) two family estates covering 200 ha; Domaine Treloar’s first vintage in 2006 (Hesford PC2007) to Gauby (PC2007) who overhauled his estate in the 1980s; Magrez’s global distribution network (Raynal PC2007) to Valmy’s 60% direct sales (Carbonnell PC2007); and prices from €4 supermarket-promoted vin de pays (Lavail PC2007) to €200 for Bizeul’s (PC2007) cult wine Petite Sibérie. All of this information and personal opinion lend valuable insight into production and planting trends, winemaking philosophy and commercial success or economic difficulties, as experienced by a snapshot of arguably typical Roussillon wine estates.
In addition, personal communication with key industry professionals in the region was necessary to research facts and to discuss ideas for the main topics evoked in the third and fourth points of aims and objectives. A meeting at the Maison des Vignerons (Cutzach) provided an outline of and data on the co-operative system, which was pre-planned by emailing a short set of questions detailing the information required. An interview at the Cave de Baixas (Sarda), the second largest and one of the most dynamic co-op cellars, was prepared in the same way. Positions on two examples of joint-venture projects, between co-operatives in Tautavel and Gérard Bertrand (Vlassoul) and Latour de France and Cazes (Lavail), were assessed by interview following up emailed questions. Arguably the most ambitious contemporary Roussillon brand launch is the Fruité Catalan range, thus a detailed meeting with the producer was indispensable (Palmowski). Other industry figures were contacted for additional details on e.g. co-ops, wine tourism and organic viticulture, and are referenced accordingly.
With regard to the trade survey, another questionnaire adapted to each market (Q2) was sent to certain supermarket buyers, specialist importers, wine merchants and/or influential consultants in the chosen target countries. The United States, France, United Kingdom and Germany are the four largest world markets for retail wine sales (*8). The response rate was eight in the UK and two (out of seven) from the US. As discussed, the statistics available on Roussillon’s performance in the large French supermarkets were judged adequate. In the absence of useful data, the questionnaire was sent to the new German distributor (Bell) for Fruité Catalan to gauge their expectations and point of view on the market.
As regards acquiring a few commanding points of view from wine journalists, a different questionnaire (Q3) received six replies from the UK, one from the US (out of seven), two from Germany (out of seven) and three from France (out of six). However, the low response rate from some countries was compensated for by referring to previously published material from key opinion formers. Along with the trade survey, this adds influential opinions and additional qualitative examples to the issues discussed, especially regarding the Roussillon’s image and core strengths and weaknesses in terms of its wines, value-for-money etc.
(iii) The SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis aims to concentrate findings and ideas, in order to identify the Roussillon’s current challenges and consider developments and future directions for competitive positioning in principal markets. An internationally standard archetype of the SWOT analysis was used (*9) that can be defined as ‘a tool for auditing an organization and its environment’ (*10). Internal factors are categorised as strengths and weaknesses, and opportunities and threats are external factors. The Chartered Institute of Marketing suggests selecting each item as high, medium or low importance (*11). A caveat in using SWOT as applied by marketers to a classic business model, which also tends to become somewhat subjective, is that the borders between certain areas are not always black and white when analysing a wine region and its industry.



Refer to tables in appendices (*1 unless stated).

(i) Production 2005-2006
Vins Doux Naturels
Although average yields were higher in 2006, the most noticeable change in VDN was a 2% volume decrease to 250,000 hectolitres (hl) (producing vineyards -5% to 11,400 ha). Muscat de Rivesaltes was down 1% overall - but still forms 40% of VDN production - although co-operatives made 3% more. There was a drop in area destined to production of Grand Roussillon (1700 ha to 300), which despite the name are low price wines (see subsection v). Red Maury almost halved yet Rivesaltes dramatically increased (160%). Banyuls Grand Cru (minimum 30 months cask ageing) remains a traditional style favoured by co-ops, who accounted for 78% of VDN.
Côtes du Roussillon and Villages
Appellation dry wine production was 5% down to 300,000 hl due to shrinking vineyard area (8300 ha). The overall colour ratio is about two-thirds red, one-third rosé and 2-3% white. The co-ops’ share measured 74%, below their total average. Interestingly, the latter made more rosé than red Côtes du Roussillon, although 2006 appears to be more favourable than 05 for red or vice versa for rosé (either colour +/-50% of CDR depending on vintage). The four Villages sub-zones (600 ha) are dominated by co-ops except Tautavel, the largest. Conversely, their share of straight CDRV reds (total 44,000 hl) is much lower, implying a higher concentration of co-op growers in those four communes or independents prefer labelling as CDRV for flexibility. The rationale behind the CDR Les Aspres appellation seems unclear given its declining production (1100 hl from 32 ha), even though the delimited area covers 37 villages (*3).
Vin de Pays & Vin de Table
Vins de pays and table accounted for 33% of plantings (9250 ha) and 47% of volumes (500,000 hl), both declining; however, these categories comprise the entire regional surplus (72,000 hl). This does not necessarily reflect on quality and value; rather that wines labelled as VDP might not conform to appellation regulations or be a winemaking statement. VDT is also relatively insignificant in Roussillon (900 ha). Surplus VDP is obviously a problem, mostly attributed to co-ops, especially white (60%). Further detail is not provided, but this is probably dry Muscat. On the whole, two-thirds of vin de pays and table is red wine.

(ii) Vine plantings/removal by variety 2005 (*12)
Over 900 of 1366 ha removed (against 763 planted) will not be replaced, and vine removal has surpassed planting since 2001-02. In the past 22 years, twice as much vineyard area has been pulled up as planted (32,500 v 16,800); provisional 06 figures suggest an increasing trend. Grenache remains the region’s principal variety at 7300 ha, 21% of surface area and one-third of reds; the deficit between removal and planting implying replacement rather than policy, unlike Carignan. The latter has diminished by 13,000 ha since the early 80s and its elimination continues, despite vocal supporters. It is still the second most widely planted variety ahead of Muscat (both = 5900 ha); however, Syrah (4820 ha) is forging ahead and could overtake Carignan. The trend towards Mourvèdre (930 ha) bodes well for diversity of red Mediterranean blends, although there are 750 ha of Merlot, for example. The region’s traditional whites continue to decline – Macabeu has halved - although independent growers remain committed to Grenache Blanc and Gris (3300 ha combined).

(iii) Production v shipments 2001-2006
Muscat Rivesaltes has rebalanced production (-32%) against steadily decreasing shipments (-16% to 116K hl) over the last five years, apparently now showing a deficit. It should be emphasised these do not include stocks held (172K hl total). Average bulk price was 218 euros per hl, declining from €230 to €200; combined with lower volumes, this represents a serious fall in growers’ income. Banyuls was 250 euros with a high of €280 and low of €220 last year. The latter is not surprising, given the recent production surge (+17%) yet tumbling shipments in 2005 (-31%). It is difficult to comment precisely on other VDN, as the data lacks detail. A steady production decline (-30%) mirrors a significant drop in shipments (-20%, 167K hl), with high but reducing stocks (560K hl).
Dry AOC wines
Overall Côtes du Roussillon shipments were variable but strong over this period (+12% to 211K hl), apart from a dip in 2005; production has levelled out correspondingly (326K hl total stock). CDR white volume has halved in line with shipments. The balance for red is approx 100,000 hl annually based on recent production and orders; 2001 was a large vintage and high point. Rosé shows a 180% increase in quantity, which struggles to follow the 400% rise in shipments. Despite the progressive fall in production (-34%, 67K hl), CDRV orders have dwindled since 2004 (-7%) and are short of the former. The ascent in Collioure volumes (+35%) appears ambitious alongside subdued yet steady shipments (+9%), although skewed by the 05 figure. Bulk prices remain high at over 250 euros per hl, compared to around €105 for CDRV and below €75 for CDR.

(iv) Shipments by channel France & export
Direct sales could be developed for all AOC styles, the percentage share having declined for dry wines (-26% to 17%) and static for VDN (10%). The same applies to specialist shops (2%), which must be an opportunity for quality producers. The rise of the ‘hard discount’ (Ed, Leader Price, Netto) sector is striking, especially for dry wines (36% share, +29%) which also gained volume through supermarkets (+40% 2001-2006). For VDN, the latter channel is steady and dominates (at least half), which could be regarded as worrying over-reliance. With a reducing share of exports for dry wines (-34% 02-06 to 27%) and virtually inconsequential for VDN, no doubt producers are searching beyond the domestic market.

(v) Sales in France 2006 (Hyper/supermarkets & discounters)
Table 3A(v) demonstrates how important VDN are to Roussillon’s economy, with sales of 111 million euros in French supermarkets. More than half the region’s Muscat sold is Rivesaltes, which showed an encouraging 0.3% value increase (€36.3m, average price €5.35). Especially compared to competing Muscats - Frontignan, Beaumes de Venise, Samos, Saint Jean de Minervois - the latter the only other one with positive growth, even if relatively small volume (500K euros at €9). Low price Grand Roussillon (€2.60 per bottle yet 20.4m turnover) makes up 50% of other VDN, and the collective picture for reds looks muted, although Maury and Banyuls (-6%) still command high average prices (around €7).
Dry wines: Languedoc-Roussillon and other
Roussillon AOC wines outperformed their counterparts from the extended region. CDR white (-2%) is the exception, whose €6 average price is boosted by white Collioure (€10, sales +13%). The majority of AOC rosé sold is CDR (+37%, €3 million) with Collioure registering 28% growth and €8.50 average. CDR and CDRV reds increased value by 4% (€5.5m and €4m respectively), which along with their average price (over €4) compares favourably with Rhone and Bordeaux; helped by Collioure red +40%, equivalent to €10 per bottle. Other Roussillon vins de pays lagged behind the buoyant vin de pays d’Oc category (+10%, €200m).

(vi) French exports by value and country (*13)
Languedoc-Roussillon AOC exports were down 2.6% in 2006, joining Beaujolais and table wine, although vins de pays progressed by 1.4% to €600m: Oc makes up 89% of this (Thomas 2007). A pertinent comparison - in terms of wine styles, price points and consumer perception - is Côtes du Rhône, which lifted exports to almost double Languedoc-Roussillon. Rhône has shown the biggest growth of any region increasing 71% by volume and 160% by value, 1995 to 2006 (*14). Among the ten leading countries, the UK (€1.3 billion) and Switzerland declined in volume but improved 10% in value. Germany remains an important but challenging destination, down -0.7% to €582m. The US (+18%, €1b) continues to prove why it could become the priority market for many exporters and take pole position.


(i) Appellation and winegrower framework
On the surface, the regulatory and organisational structure in Roussillon appears less fragmented than other regions. Two-thirds of vineyards are classified AOC accounting for just over half the production (*1). The largest, created in 1977 covering 118 villages (*3) is Côtes du Roussillon; followed by Muscat de Rivesaltes (1972 decree: 90 villages in PO and nine in Aude) and other Rivesaltes (1997) - red Tuilé, Grenat and white ambré - about the same. There are three regional Vin de Pays categories: Oc (managed by Inter’Oc *15), Côtes Catalanes and PO, plus Côte Vermeille along the southeast coast; the latter three come under ANIVIT (*16).
Côtes du Roussillon Villages (1977) includes 32 villages in the region’s northern flank north of the river Têt, somewhat arbitrarily according to some. It also excludes Caudiès-de-Fenouillèdes located 10 km west of St. Paul-de-Fenouillet; the latter is the same distance west of Maury yet falls within the Maury VDN AOC, as does Tautavel found further away to the east. The variations in geology and microclimate across this area put in doubt their importance as a ‘scientific’ basis; as do stricter yield limits, which most respondents to the winemaker survey claim are routinely undershot.
Another criticism of Villages AOC is the thirty percent requirement for Syrah or Mourvèdre. Certain growers, for example the Maury area where these varieties are relative newcomers, thus have to label their old vine Grenache-Carignan blends as vin de pays as they have insufficient or none (or are not interested). As Charlier (PC2007) pointed out, Grenache is considered one of Roussillon’s major strengths and Syrah does not produce great wine in all sites. There are also a number of (often excellent) 100% Grenache cuvées labelled CDR Villages, officially unauthorised making AOC rules a farce; just like CDR containing Muscat, not permitted in appellation dry whites yet sometimes a flavour improvement. The survey highlights frustration with official obsession with variety and style-conformity over character and quality.
There are four named Côtes du Roussillon Villages sub-zones - Caramany, Latour-de-France, Lesquerde (the smallest at 22 ha) and Tautavel (largest, 316 ha). As 2006 data demonstrates, the co-ops produced most (all in Caramany) of the wine declared under these AOCs except Tautavel, which is the only one that grew compared to the previous vintage. Quality judgements aside (often good), it is difficult to believe their creation was not partly due to pressure from powerful co-ops; especially a tiny village like Lesquerde. Côtes du Roussillon Aspres was created in 2004 for a wide zone in central-southern Roussillon. Sub-zones and crus are discussed in the next section, as their relevance from a marketing perspective is equally important as purported differences in terroir.
AOC Banyuls covers VDN across Banyuls-sur-mer, Collioure, Port-Vendres and Cerbère; and AOC Collioure for reds, rosés and whites (1971, 91, 03). Gard (PC2007) agreed part of Collioure’s success is its greater flexibility: for red wines, none of the listed mandatory varieties is specifically cited. These two appellations have a separate growers’ union – Syndicat Cru Banyuls/Collioure – as do Maury and Muscat de Rivesaltes. Other unions include the Vignerons Coopérateurs (see ii below) and Vignerons Indépendants; the latter has 260 Roussillon members (*17) out of about 450 independents (Cutzach PC2007). CIVR is the regional administrative and trade body, which is being integrated into the Fédération des Interprofessions du Sud (Inter-Sud) with Languedoc and vin de pays/table organisations.
Further commentary on Inter-Sud ensues, who are responsible for managing the region’s viticulture as proposed by Pomel’s report (2006); in addition to the new Languedoc Appellation, which embraces Roussillon. Other reforms causing concern for growers include the creation of Organismes de Défense et Gestion, ODG (*18), a public body effectively replacing the old AOC syndicats and entrenched agrément process. These must be demanding yet practical on the ground and take a transparent quality stance on appellation-based winegrowing, rather than a diktat from Paris bureaucrats.

(ii) Co-operative cellars and merchant houses
There were 5600 co-operative growers in 2003, who are estimated to be 5-10% less numerous today (Cutzach PC2007). To gauge an idea of income, two wines are taken as examples. The bulk price of Côtes du Roussillon red is around €63 per hl; at maximum permitted yields of 50 hl/ha, income would be €3150 per ha. Subtract €750 winemaking costs and €1000-€2000 in the vineyard (trellising/bush vines, harvesting, treatments etc.), which gives approximate earnings of €1000 per ha. Muscat Rivesaltes fetches €200 per hl, but with max yields currently at 20 hl/ha and costlier vinification, this is marginally more profitable.
A 2006 study claims 90% of Languedoc-Roussillon wine farms are experiencing financial difficulties (*19). The Comité Régionale Action Viticole (CRAV) terror group recently issued threats of further violence if the new French President does not help struggling growers, referring to the 1907 revolt’s centenary (*20). Action has been confined to the Languedoc so far targeting state buildings, banks and merchant houses. The proposed government and EU budget for vineyard restructuring and supporting the region’s exports is €35 million (*21). Another eight million came from VINIFLHOR (*22) to back co-operative mergers from 2000-2006, which ten in the Roussillon benefited from (*23).
Roussillon co-ops have decreased from 64 to 50 over this period, excluding amalgamations, closures or partnerships in the first half of 2007 (at least five) (Cutzach PC2007). The average size is 440 ha producing 17,400 hl, although the five largest account for 35% of co-op production. Following their recent merger, the leader is Rivesaltes/Salses-le-Chateau at 2500 ha and over 100K hl, who announced a €10m investment (*24) to develop their Arnaud de Villeneuve brand. They are followed by Baixas, Estagel (Côtes d’Agly), GICB (Celliers des Templiers) and Maury. At the other end, the future must be in doubt for Sournia, Saint Martin and Arboussols, whose members had fewer than 100 ha between them in 2006.
Three main trends have emerged (Cutzach PC2007). Smaller cellars such as Le Dominicain in Collioure manage to stand alone by developing direct and local on-trade sales, thanks to all-year round and often well-off visitors to this bijou resort. A partnership can work better than complete merger for cellars with a well-located shop and effective sales network, such as Fourques and Thuir. Taking advantage of economies of scale and increased grape source, they could progress from bulk to higher priced wine. Thirdly, a sizeable merger like Côtes d’Agly, if successfully executed, gives flexibility to develop supermarket labels and premium products (€5-€10) with strong corporate identity. At least ten, possibly loss-making cellars are facing uncertainty with more mergers or closures looking likely.
Cave de Baixas illustrates one promising model in terms of technical and marketing advance. With 330 members owning 1750 ha, Baixas was the largest co-op until the recent Rivesaltes/Salses fusion. “It makes economic sense to join forces,” Sarda said (PC2007). “We reinvest at least €250,000 a year; the winery has been totally re-equipped over the last ten years,” although admitted that sales resources had been neglected. To change attitudes, growers are paid on a scale for each variety based on strict guidelines. Much of Baixas’ €10m turnover is bulk; half of bottled wines and bag-in-box is sold locally, 34% in national retail and 16% export. The focus is shifting towards the latter markets, although understandable “if you can sell wine profitably locally, it helps you invest.” Their Dom Brial brand has been extended with innovatively packaged varietals and AOC wines offering good value at €3.50-€5 (£3.50-£5 UK). Chateau Les Pins and premium Rivesaltes styles command €8 upwards, despite “high but stabilising” VDN stocks. Baixas produces 18,000 hl of Muscat, hence the necessity to launch iconoclastic products such as ‘Rozy’ (Syrah/Muscat rosé) and ‘Fizzy’.
Two joint-ventures between co-ops and brand owners show forward thinking: Gérard Bertrand with Tautavel (discussed chapter C) and Cazes with Latour-de-France. Unlike the Languedoc – JeanJean (€151m turnover, +4.5% (*24) wisely spotted a gap in the market when acquiring Cazes – “the Roussillon still really lacks a quality dynamic négoce,” Gerbelle commented (PC2007). Hecht & Bannier is one Languedoc-Roussillon merchant, who has secured good distribution and press coverage in the US (*25). Bordeaux names investing in the region include Lurton, Thunevin and Magrez (see next chapter).
Although what George (PC2007) described as “even more of a co-operative culture than the Languedoc” has hindered progress, the painfully streamlined system will remain a production and socio-political force in Roussillon. With evolving quality and management, co-ops are vital to its economy and growers’ standard of living. Continued development depends on executive and technical personnel having the tools and freedom to focus on each cellar’s strengths.


(i) ‘International’ wine styles
Brands are nothing new in Roussillon, as nostalgic posters advertising ‘generous’ Valmya (Carbonnell PC2007) and ‘tonic’ Byrrh (*26) demonstrate. Fruité Catalan is a contemporary version from €50m-turnover producer group Vignerons Catalans. At concept stage, they considered how best to target women and younger people then apply this to Roussillon. The partner co-ops realised the need to reposition the region in supermarkets while safeguarding growers’ income. The obstacles were familiar: huge choice, wine trapped in provenance and ritual. Consumer research raised positive points, in particular Catalan culture and character. The red and rosé are CDR and white is VDP Catalanes, the latter moniker perhaps an advantage over appellation. With pink corks, capsules and logo, butterfly motif and vertically etched lettering; it is clear how “the brand defies classic perceptions.” (Palmowski PC2007)
Retailing at €2.99, supported by a €1m marketing budget, sales in France reached 1.8 million bottles in 2006, according to Palmowski, with a long-term target of 10m. Multiple grocers are the best route for Fruité to penetrate the British market, which is populated by similar brands pitched in a crowded £3.99-£4.99 arena. Asda’s decision not to list them was a setback, but Sainsbury’s has taken on the Shiraz-Grenache rosé. Hirshfeld (2007) called it “an innovative project from Catalans whose winemaking has improved beyond recognition.” In Germany, Bell (PC2007) believes: “The up-to-date design opens up good opportunities with 20-45 year-olds. 80% of off-trade sales are below €3… our first months with Fruité make us confident it got the right positioning and finds acceptance with the customer.”
The French-Catalan styling might be an asset, as Roussillon lacks any real identity for English-speakers. Joseph agreed (PC2007): “It has near-zero image, poorer than Languedoc although no weaker than Catalonia’s.” Bell thought “German consumers mainly connect ‘Catalan’ with the Spanish part.” It is debatable whether CDR, with lower production than VDP, could sustain the volume necessary for a range with global pretensions. But a brand like Fruité could attract new consumers to the region at everyday level: Gallo’s Red Bicyclette shows it is possible, given the right distribution and backing (*27).
Jefford (PC2007) was ebullient about prospects for Roussillon’s red wines, which “can be exceptionally and excitingly good: dense, ripe fruit with wonderful mineral intensity.” Eichelmann (PC2007) evoked their “uniqueness in taste.” The words ‘old vines’ and Grenache occur throughout the surveys as the region’s forte and distinctive flavour. Stepp (PC2007) reported a following for their old vine Grenache at £5.49, which “makes some New World countries look poor value.” Willette (PC2007) said “styles tend to be big, smoky and spicy, and well-priced.” Marcus made comparisons with Châteauneuf-du-Pape (PC2007) and the continual fascination with ‘Rhône’ or ‘GSM’ blends in America. Roussillon producers should note the Rhône’s successful ‘Think Red’ campaign around the world.
Robinson (PC2007) highlighted a backlash against high alcohol reds, as well as overly oaked or “Bordeaux in style” (Smith PC2007). This coincides with many estates aiming to preserve fresher purer flavours, in the vineyard and cellar. Varichon (PC2007) is concerned about Syrah and “style homogenisation,” and many believe in restoring neglected Grenache and Carignan vineyards. However, Syrah can be easier to maintain and produce quality at higher yields, especially for rosé. Bile (PC2007) considers Syrah and Mourvèdre well-suited to the Cases-de-Pène area. Varieties aside, the fact that high-profile names are concentrating on them, further illustrates Roussillon’s best opportunity: thrilling Mediterranean reds.
Sales of imported rosés grew 40 percent in the US, and Madrigal estimates rosé sales at Sam’s stores climbed 25 percent (Frank 2007). In Germany, turnover increased 11% in multiple grocers particularly among 18-29 year-olds (*28). Eight percent of wine sales in Britain are rosé reaching £351m (+27%) (*29). As per data in 3A, the situation is similarly healthy in the French retail sector. With its large production of dry fruity rosés at competitive prices (€2.50-€5, £4-£6 or $8-$12), most of those polled agreed it represents an opening for Roussillon. Some have doubts about the style being made. Strang (PC2007) said “the rosés are too overblown, definitely food wines, whereas UK taste is for the Provençal style.” Besombes (PC2007) agreed his grapes are too concentrated. But rosé is a useful tool for co-ops who can produce commercial quantities of lighter vins de pays.

(ii) VDN and Muscat
With sales in general decline - although Muscat and certain reds are stabilising (*7) - prospects for Roussillon’s VDN wines are uncertain. Grand Roussillon represents huge volume and turnover; but it is questionable how profitable this is with an average retail price of €2.60 (*1). Consumer samplings in France indicated cheaper styles are not very popular among 25 to 45 year-olds (*5). The best Rivesaltes ambré have at least five years’ cask ageing and sell for €10. Only the co-ops hold large stocks of older wines; yet prices seem low relative to the capital investment, which gives little incentive for small estates to compete. Hence why traditional white varieties used for these styles are disappearing. Nevertheless, Gerbelle (PC2007) among others thinks there is a future but for high quality niche wines.
The same applies to red VDN, although the advantage for growers is ease of switching to dry wines given the amount of quality Grenache available. Estate winemakers are accelerating the trend towards ‘muté sur grains’ styles of Banyuls and Maury, with less oxidation and earlier bottling, which reflect current tastes. Taylor (PC2007) sells these wines “as a fruitier and more enjoyable alternative to port,” by running themed tastings. Simon (PC2007) suggested “promoting them with chocolate,” via food magazines or back labels. From the winemaker survey, about half make no or little VDN. Parcé (PC2007) is one of several who almost abandoned hope but now reported growing sales to private customers (estate Maury or Banyuls typically €10-€15). Certain newcomers making dry wines are considering small quantities of ‘vintage’ type reds, to keep the tradition alive and believe there is a market, especially northern Europe. For the USA, Willette (PC2007) is sceptical: “if it’s not port or sauternes, we don’t drink them.”
With 5900 ha of Muscat planted, it remains Roussillon’s biggest challenge or opportunity. Flavour aside, consumer samplings indicated preference for deeper coloured Muscat, which is at odds with winemaking techniques accentuating aroma and fruit (Gibiard 2007). Muscat de Noel is a lucrative vehicle for 100 producers to rapidly market their latest vintage (*3). Marks & Spencer also “sell Rivesaltes quite well as ‘Christmas Pudding wine’ (Ahearne PC2007).” Jones (PC2007), who launched a £4.99 ‘sweet Muscat from South of France’ (on the backlabel), believes: “there’s a market provided it’s on tasting and clearly described.” However, Lea (PC2007) made comparisons to “more sophisticated sweeties barely more expensive; we only think of these as pudding wines.” Attempting to counteract the French aperitif mentality, VDN has been advocated as cocktails. Another, arguably better approach is pairing with desserts and cheese by offering by the glass in restaurants, which enhances profile although not volume.
Dry Muscat provoked mixed reactions among winemakers, press and importers. Some argue it appeals to an increasing number of consumers looking for good-value, aromatic crisp whites; others think it is confusing or do not like the varietal style vinified dry (“smells sweet tastes bitter-dry” Lea). By adapting techniques, more appealing wines are being made. Muscat, Grenache Blanc and Macabeu blends work well for wines at Fruité Catalan’s level. In addition, many of those surveyed mentioned the quality and character of Roussillon whites, although their German colleagues doubt there is an opening.
Dry and sparkling wines are two alternatives for Muscat; another is finding new VDN consumers and promotional ideas in France and export. Otherwise the harsh reality is growers continuing to replace it, however painful it may be to abandon a once lucrative variety and winemaking culture.

(iii) Quality wine estates
Pithon (PC2007) cited “rich variety of land… inexpensive old vines” as major reasons for buying in Roussillon. Monné (PC2007) evoked an emotional factor of “dream landscapes.” Prices vary from €7000-€15000 per ha to €20-30K in Banyuls-Collioure, where it is expensive to maintain terraced vineyards and find experienced workers. Low yields, due to thorough work rather than neglect, amplify cost pressures. Other problems include finding reasonably priced property or obtaining planning permission for a cellar. Vineyards over 25 ha (the survey average excluding largest and smallest) entail a disproportionate increase in labour costs, and social contributions are high in France. Around a half set up their domaine within the last six years; some hope to break even after 3-5 years and others like Henriquès (PC2007) think at least 15 to see real return on investment.
Therefore, prices are less competitive than co-op wines as these estates must achieve higher quality positioning, aiming at the smaller market of private customers, specialist shops and on-trade. ‘Entry-level’ wines are priced at €4.50-€7.50 retail, with some estates asking up to €15 or €25 to €200 even for certain cult wines. While these high-profile growers are drawing attention to the region, they overshadow those offering comparable quality at more affordable prices. Crosland (PC2007) agreed: “You have to over-deliver here, not charge £20 for something no-one has heard of. Once you’ve got that reputation you can build up… there aren’t enough good value wines at £7-8.” Encouragingly, the average price in British independent specialists is £7.24 (*30). In America, wine over $10 grew 10% last year (*31). However, this means many estates are chasing the same small share of these markets.
Winegrowers acknowledge an effective method to promote beyond the cellar door is supporting wholesalers or restaurateurs with tastings or gastronomic events. On average, 57% of sales are in export markets with many looking to augment this. Difficulties include finding committed agents for little-known wines or grappling with the US distribution network. As Andrew (PC2007) remarked, “many wine drinkers buy anything French and affordable (under $15) if they find them in their local wholefoods.” Another route is building partnerships with importers who invest in vineyards themselves, such as New York’s Eric Solomon with Calvet-Thunevin (PC2007). Fassbender (PC2007) stated that “Germans accept Roussillon reds if good value, many of them are €5. Some wineries have worked hard to get an image for modern terroir-wines and can sell them expensively.”
Half the estates surveyed are organic or biodynamic or are aiming to be. Hesford (PC2007), who has worked in New Zealand, thought it worth highlighting that even non-organic estates “use much less chemicals.” Roussillon’s compatibility with organic viticulture offers scope for further differentiation and can be successfully integrated into premium positioning.

(iv) New approaches to regional labelling and marketing
Roussillon has distinct character but lacks tangible identity outside the wine trade or press, even in France where its ‘beach, mountain & sweet aperitif’ image persists. However, ‘Roussillon’ is arguably the best common banner; and few winemakers are interested in labelling wines under the catch-all Languedoc AOC. Many prefer underlining Catalan heritage and choose VDP Côtes Catalanes, which is practical and clearer. Pelegry (PC2007) uses VDP at entry-level “to display the varieties,” yet declassify their 100 year-old vine cuvées due to “inflexible” AOC. Growers in Fenouillèdes are angry this region’s VDP was shelved – Robinson (PC2007) also observed “the most interesting area doesn’t have its own appellation or VDP” - and formed an association to invite journalists and buyers. The new ODG structure might allow them to create a sub-appellation.
‘South of France’, backed by a €15m collective budget (*32), might prove a suitable vehicle for the region’s united image and wines, especially for export; although Roussillon is in danger of being lost. Magrez decided to put Sud de France on his entire Languedoc-Roussillon range (Raynal PC2007). Gardiès (PC2007) is “all for big brands finding new consumers then catching those interested in trading up.” Small growers lack the finance or distribution needed for cohesive promotion. However, many like Bizeul (PC2007) are “attached to the idea of a vigneron working their territory” and appellation per se; but not “as currently administered in the interests of co-ops,” Richards (PC2007) added.
Gérard Bertrand, owner of five Languedoc estates, has signed a ten-year partnership with four co-ops in Tautavel Côtes du Roussillon Villages AOC (Vlassoul PC2007). The company has secured shelf-space for their Tautavel ‘brand’ in UK retailers at £6.99 and €4.50 in France; and the Reserve at £7.99 in Waitrose ($15 in US). Howard-Sneyd commented (PC2007): “I believe in Tautavel’s future, as a distinctive style and because Bertrand has a vision how to forge regional identity.” This original approach to appellation branding should prove mutually beneficial. Bertrand has a premium, ‘sense-of-place’ label without buying vineyards; the co-ops are motivated, working with a prestige name with international marketing experience.
It is too early to judge Côtes du Roussillon Les Aspres, but generally wines under this label do not represent a discernible style, terroir message or quality to match their €8-€10 price. Smith said (PC2007): “there are good growers in the Aspres,” but finds the wines “barrique-influenced, dear and lacking soul.” Certain pre-eminent growers like Montès (PC2007) consider it “wrong from the start by imposing the varieties,” and labels everything VDP in protest. Graler (PC2007) does not see the point in replicating commune names “no-one knows outside the region.”
On the other hand, Piquemal (PC2007) thinks intricacy is “their very charm” for wine enthusiasts. Gauby (PC2007) feels the opportunity has been missed preferring to focus on his name, suggesting estate growers are those shaping the region’s crus hence true hierarchy. Similarly, Predal (PC2007) declared: “may the best win, like in Burgundy;” and Joseph (PC2007) referred to achieving “critical mass as in Napa Cabernet.” How exactly producers should present Roussillon is a difficult balancing act between a broad unified approach and making their own unique statement. The region has the people and wines to do both.
The Dubrule (2007) report on wine tourism revealed that 40% of French holidaymakers visited vineyards, 22% specifically chose a wine region and a third of visitors came from overseas. The market is estimated at 7 million people and 15-50% of a property’s sales (*33). Belmas (PC2007) - member of Tourisme de Terroir (*34) whose guide lists wineries alongside gîtes, farm produce etc - cited 80% of direct sales during July-August. Carbonnell’s (PC2007) magnificently restored Château-hotel (Valmy) is well located between Perpignan and Collioure. Dauré’s (PC2007) on-site restaurants (Jau and Paulilles) “shift 50,000 bottles at high margin.” Others reported insignificant revenue from tourism due to remoteness or preference for entertaining trade customers. Complications include planning permission to renovate buildings, health and safety requirements. The Roussillon must capitalise on opportunities offered by wine tourism to boost income and “get people to appreciate the wine-lands’ beauty and diversity” (Lubbe PC2007).


(i) SWOT Analysis

- Historical/cultural character
- VDN tradition
- More manageable vineyard area than Languedoc
- Diversity of terrain and soils
- Warm dry windy climate, low disease
- Old vine Grenache & Carignan, Syrah suitability
- Adapting viticulture / winemaking to the market, especially Muscat
- Production of red and rosé
- Balance between AOC/VDP production
- Sustained VDN turnover in supermarkets
- Co-op structure socio-economic force
- Collioure’s success as template
- Creativity in product and regional branding
- Burgeoning single estates
- Inexpensive vine-land
- Influx of talent
- Compatibility with organics
- Established tourism industry
- Beach, mountain & cheap aperitif image in France
- Drought, small yields
- VDN over-production
- Low price and quality VDN
- Old-fashioned VDN styles
- Syrah uniformity
- Massive Muscat plantings
- White varieties disappearing
- Direct sales declined
- Co-op supremacy a hindrance
- Fragmented grower framework
- Lacking strong merchant houses
- Co-ops dominating AOC politics
- Flawed AOC mindset / sub-zones
- Insignificant estate wine tradition
- Costly vineyard maintenance
- Catalan culture USP
- Media attention, ‘next big thing’
- Low yields favour quality focus
- Restructured vineyard qualitatively
- Unique niche VDN, particularly reds
- Gastronomic pairing for VDN, on-trade by the glass
- Shift production to dry & sparkling Muscat
- Buoyant VDP sales
- Hard discounters
- Increasing consumption in export destinations
- Rationalised dynamic co-ops source of good-value / innovative brands
- Following for Mediterranean/Rhone reds & varietals
- Booming rosé market
- Appeal of aromatic whites
- High quality at competitive prices, comparisons with Priorat
- Growing markets for premium wines
- Attracting outside investment
- Sud de France for cohesive branding
Cru hierarchy for specialist sector
- ODG offers new labelling / marketing approaches
- Public concern for environment
- Mounting wine tourism activity
- Dominated by Languedoc
- Little tangible overseas identity
- Historically lacking quality image
- Low yields limit production, increase costs
- Consumer perception of Muscat
- Changing tastes from sweet fortified wines and as aperitif
- Ageing male VDN consumer
- VDN over-reliance on supermarkets
- Declining domestic consumption
- Low presence in specialist retail
- Difficulty with export distribution
- Extremist activist minority
- Poor communication on appellations
- Sud de France engulfing Roussillon
- Backlash against alcoholic wines
- Over-pricing by some
- Finding labour / employee costs

(ii) Conclusion

Solutions to the communication gulf between Roussillon’s distinctive character yet wanting image overseas are clearly linked. Winemakers should further exploit the region’s Catalan culture and identity to promote their wines, underlining ‘French Catalonia’ for example: a more evocative insignia for English-speakers. Roussillon has resonance in France, even if its ‘sun ski and aperitif’ image endures. In time, growers and marketers should be able to nurture a strong independent image via media attention on diverse single estates, well priced and distributed contemporary brands and complementary wine tourism business.
Roussillon’s climate and terrain suit high-expression viticulture and especially red Mediterranean varieties. Low yields, while restricting volumes, are conducive to high quality fruit. Old vine Grenache and Carignan are the region’s quintessence and should be treasured. Syrah has also earned its place, although its ascendancy might result in a ‘southern French’ style-uniformity. Exciting Mediterranean/Rhone reds are the major opportunity to firmly position Roussillon in domestic and export markets, followed by dry fruity rosés. Care is needed to make balanced wines with integrated alcohol and oak. A small yet growing following for its whites could mean a renaissance for certain characterful varieties.
VDN is both a unique strength and, because of slow reaction to declining consumption and ubiquity of cheap oxidised styles, the region’s biggest challenge. However, tight controls and technical expertise in adapting vineyards and winemaking to changing tastes appear to be helping producers surmount a production crisis. This is combined with fresh approaches to addressing what younger consumers prefer, based on realistic research; particularly for Muscat. Its future depends on finding new outlets for these often attractive sweet wines, or establishing innovative dry and sparkling products. Neither of these options is an easy task, but the alternative is to continue pulling up Muscat or replacing it with red varieties. There is a niche opening for ‘modern’ red VDN, especially in northern Europe.
Whereas Roussillon’s overly dominant and disjointed co-op system has delayed progress, a revitalised structure will remain a production and socio-political force. Much improved quality and management make co-ops a source of good-value wines and new brands essential to economic growth and stable income. AOC reform and the outlook for appellation-based winegrowing must be distanced from price politics, local pride and varietal dictatorship. Partnerships with merchant houses show promise and one possible direction, if premium wine projects already in place succeed.
The region’s inexpensive beautiful vine-landscape has triggered an influx of investment and talent, and an escalating estate wine culture. Production costs and pricing issues aside, dynamic estates are central to the Roussillon industry’s long-term prosperity and quality image; as well as the potential basis of a future cru hierarchy. Organic viticulture and wine tourism offer further opportunities for creative producers, based on the region’s natural advantages and growing consumer interest.
A definitive judgement on exactly how Roussillon should label and market itself is difficult, given the diversity of the region’s offering. Winemakers are polarised between a broad-umbrella approach and upholding their unique terroir. The region’s large companies should promote everyday wines under the South of France flag; while its estates differentiate themselves with exceptional wines expressing Mediterranean-Catalan culture, climate, varieties and terrain. Whether the latter are defined by regulation or simply philosophically, is something all parties are struggling to agree on. Overall, Roussillon has the right wines and people to go in both directions; until now, it has surely been a matter of limited means and will.

Richard Mark James © 2007-2008 Published April 2008, all rights reserved.
And finally, let the wines speak for themselves, as this site hopefully proves!

Appendices Part 1: BIBLIOGRAPHY

Ahearne, Jo: Marks & Spencer winemaker London, questionnaire 22/02/2007.
Andrew, David: wine consultant Seattle, questionnaire 22/03/2007.
Bell, René: questionnaire Red Fox Wine Company GmbH, Bingen 25/04/2007.
Belmas, Frédéric: Mas Alart, Saleilles; questionnaire 30/05/2007.
Berry, Liz: The Wines of Languedoc-Roussillon, Ebury Press London October 1992.
de Besombes, Laurent: interview Domaine Singla, Rivesaltes 25/04/2007.
Bile, Brigitte: interview Domaine Depeyre, Cases-de-Pène 20/04/2007.
Bizeul, Hervé: personal communication Clos des Fées, Vingrau 16/04/2007.
Brook, Stephen: ‘High Hopes,’ Decanter magazine 25/02/2005, IPC Media London.
Calvet, Jean-Roger: joint-owner of Domaine Calvet-Thunevin, interview Maury 17/04/2007.
Cannavan, Tom: ‘Roussillon under a Catalan sun,’ wine-pages.com July 2005.
Carbonnell, Martine: interview Château Valmy, Argelès-sur-mer 26/03/2007.
Charlier, Luc: interview Domaine Coume Majou, Corneilla 1/02/2007.
Crosland, Stephen: Associate Director Purchasing at Tanners Wines Shrewsbury, questionnaire 6/02/2007.
Cutzach, Laurent: interview Maison des Vignerons du Roussillon, Perpignan 22/03/2007.
Dauré, Simon: interview Château de Jau (Cases-de-Pène) & Clos de Paulilles (Port Vendres) 29/03/2007.
Dubrule, Paul: ‘L’Oenotourisme, une valorisation des produits et du patrimoine vitivinicoles,’ co-fonder of the ACCOR group; Robert Mondy, Ministry of Agriculture and Bernard Rousseau, Tourism Inspectorate. Paris 3/03/2007, downloaded from Vitisphere.com.
Eichelmann, Gerhard: Mondo Heidelberg, questionnaire 30/05/2007.
Fassbender, Wolfgang: German wine writer, questionnaire 13/04/2007.
Frank, Mitch; ‘Rosé,’ Efrain Madrigal, wine director at Sam’s Wine and Spirits in Chicago; 2004 and 2006 figures. Winespectator.com 31/05/2007.
Gard, Philippe: interview Domaine Coume del Mas, Banyuls-sur-Mer 30/04/2007.
Gardiès, Jean: interview Domaine Gardiès, Espira de l’Agly 29/03/2007.
Gauby, Gérard: interview Domaine Gauby, Calce 8/03/2007.
George, Rosemary: The Wines of the South of France from Banyuls to St Raphael, Mitchell Beazley London June 2003.
George, Rosemary: ‘Guide to Côtes du Roussillon-Villages,’ Decanter magazine September 2006, IPC Media London.
George, Rosemary: questionnaire 6/04/2007, London.
Gerbelle, Antoine: ‘Roussillon-Priorat le derby catalan,’ La Revue du Vin de France February 2007, Groupe Marie Claire Paris.
Gerbelle, Antoine: questionnaire 28/05/2007, consultant editor La Revue du Vin de France, Paris.
Gibiard, Thierry (ICV):  ‘Fruit et couleur des Muscats,’ presented at the ‘2emes Rencontres Mediterranéennes du Muscat’, Perpignan 30/01/2007.
Graler, Joep: Domaine des Trois Orris, Tarerach; questionnaire 4/05/2007.
Guichet, Marc: ‘L’Affectation parcellaire,’ vineyard manager at the Tresserre Station Viti-vinicole and Syndicat du Cru Muscat de Rivesaltes; presented at the ‘2emes Rencontres Mediterranéennes du Muscat’, Perpignan 30/01/2007.
de Guitaut, Bertrand: Domaine de Pechpeyrou, Banyuls-sur-mer; questionnaire 30/01/2007 and personal communication 30/04/2007.
Healey, Jonathan: Discovering Wine Country South of France, Mitchell Beazley London June 2005.
Henriquès, Cyril: interview Domaine Forca Real, Millas 2/05/2007.
Hesford, Jonathan: interview Domaine Treloar, Trouillas 23/03/2007.
Hirshfeld, Abigail: buyer for France at Sainsbury’s supermarkets London, spring press tasting catalogue 9/05/2007.
Howard-Sneyd, Justin: Waitrose wine buying manager, questionnaire 21/02/2007.
Hughes, Natasha: ‘Southern Change,’ Wine International 22/12/2004 (now Wine & Spirit), William Reed Publishing Sussex.
IMW student: ‘Roussillon identity parade’ 11/05/2007, ‘Is there a d’Oc in the house?’ 4/02/2005; Harpers wine & spirit weekly, Nexus Media Kent. ‘France Muscat’ 9/03/2007, ‘Languedoc-Roussillon marketing and investment’ 21/07/2006, ‘Once upon a time in the South’ 22/07/2005: Off Licence News, William Reed Publishing Sussex.
Jefford, Andrew: The New France, Mitchell Beazley London 19/10/2006.
Jefford, Andrew: questionnaire, Brighton 6/05/2007.
Jones, Katie: export and marketing director, Caves Mont Tauch, Tuchan; email communication 6/02/2007.
Joseph, Robert: London - Wine Travel Guide to the World, Wine Business International, the Joseph Report,www.robertjoseph-onwine.com - questionnaire 13/04/2007.
Lavail, Lionel: general manager of Domaine Cazes / JeanJean group, interview Rivesaltes 16/03/2007.
Lawther, James: ‘Roussillon a land of opportunity,’ Decanter magazine January 2007.
Lawther, James: ‘Wine Investments in the Languedoc-Roussillon,’ Flavours from France Paris, issue no. 6 2006.
Lea, Charles: Lea & Sandeman wine merchants London, questionnaire 6/02/2007.
Lubbe, Tom: Domaine Matassa, Calce; questionnaire 7/05/2007.
Marcus, Kim: ‘2006 Ultimate Buying Guide’ 28/02/2007, ‘Syrah Shines in Southern France’ 31/10/2006; Wine Spectator Online & Magazine New York City.
Marcus, Kim: Wine Spectator, telephone interview 5/06/2007 following up emailed questionnaire.
Monné, Eric: Domaine Clot de l’Oum, Bélesta, questionnaire 25/01/2007.
Montès, Etienne: interview Chateau Le Casenove, Trouillas 2/05/2007.
Palmowski, Christophe: marketing director for Les Vignerons Catalans en Roussillon, interview Perpignan 26/02/2007.
Parcé, Marc: interview Domaine de la Rectorie, Banyuls; and Préceptoire de Centernach, Maury; 26/03/2007.
Pelegry, Arnaud: Domaine des Vents, Saint Paul de Fenouillet; questionnaire 29/01/2007.
Piquemal, Michel: interview Mas dels Clots, Salses-le-Chateau 16/03/2007.
Pithon, Olivier: interview Domaine Pithon, Calce 8/03/2007.
Pomel, Bernard (Préfet): ‘Réussir l’Avenir de la Viticulture de France,’ Vitisphere.com 31/03/2006.
Predal, Guy: Domaine Marcevol, Vinca; questionnaire 1/02/2007.
Raynal, Jean-Marc: production manager for Vignobles Bernard Magrez Languedoc-Roussillon and Spain, interview Montner 2/05/2007.
Richards, Roy: questionnaire 28/04/2007, Richards Walford wine importers, Oxford, and partner in Domaine Le Soula.
Robinson, Jancis: London, questionnaire 13/05/2007.
Sarda, Claude: sales manager at Cave de Baixas/Dom Brial, interview Baixas 1/03/2007.
Simon, Joanna: Sunday Times wine correspondent London, questionnaire 26/04/2007.
Smith, Michel: Les Grands Crus du Languedoc et du Roussillon, Editions Renault Cap d’Agde March 2006.
Smith, Michel: Perpignan, questionnaire 1/04/2007.
Stepp, Gerd: Marks & Spencer winemaker London, questionnaire 22/02/2007.
Strang, Paul: Languedoc-Roussillon The Wines & Winemakers, Mitchell Beazley London October 2002.
Strang, Paul: London, questionnaire 11/04/2007.
Taylor, Simon: owner of Stone Vine and Sun, Winchester, questionnaire 10/02/2007.
Thomas-Radux, Didier: Editor ‘1907-2007 Un siècle rouge ardent,’ Midi Libre / L’Indépendant magazine, Montpellier March 2007.
Varichon, Olivier: Domaine Vinci, Estagel; questionnaire 5/02/2007 and interviewed 8/03/2007.
Vlassoul, Sophie: telephone interview 27/03/2007, Gérard Bertrand wine group marketing director, Narbonne.
Willette, Lisabeth: Willette Wines New York City, questionnaire 19/03/2007.


Other references marked * in the text

(1) Supplied by Jacques Fite, Service Economique: Conseil Interprofessionnel Vins du Roussillon, Perpignan 22/03/2007.
(3) CIVR data emailed by Eric Aracil, export manager, 8/02/2007.
(4) Conseil Général des Pyrénées Orientales website.
(5) CIVR report: ‘Test de perception organoleptique des Vins doux naturels’, compiled by Cegma Topo November 2006.
(6) Climate data courtesy of Mme. Bonay METEO FRANCE Perpignan, 3/05/2007.
(7) Information Resources Inc. France 2006: hyper & super total Muscat -0.1% volume (10.5m litres, €63m), other VDN -2.5%. Presented at the ‘2emes Rencontres Mediterranéennes du Muscat’, Perpignan 30/01/2007.
(8) Vinexpo/IWSR data published in Harpers wine & spirit weekly 19/01/2007.
(9) SWOT analysis credited to Albert Humphrey and his research team at Stanford University 1960-70. Also described by Learned, Christiansen, Andrews and Guth in ‘Business Policy, Text and Cases’: Homewood, IL, Irwin 1969 - from www.netmba.com.
(12) Emailed by Anne Sequin, winemaker at the Tresserre Station Viti-vinicole, 24/05/2007.
(13) Fédération des Exportateurs de Vins et Spiritueux, Paris Feb 2007.
(14) Harpers wine & spirit weekly 16/03/2007.
(15) Interprofession des Producteurs de Vin de Pays d’Oc, Montpellier.
(16) Association Nationale Interprofessionnelle des Vins de Table et Vins de Pays de France, Paris.
(18) Institut National de l’Origine et de la Qualité (formerly INAO), Paris.
(19) Undertaken by the Centre d’Economie Rurale, Vitisphere.com 17/06/2006.
(20) www.Decanter.com 18/05/2007.
(21) La Journée Vinicole, Montpellier 1/12/2006.
(22) Office National Interprofessionnel des Fruits, des Légumes, des Vins et de l’Horticulture; Paris.
(23) www.Vitisphere.com 22/12/2006.
(24) Vitisphere.com 13/04/2007.
(25) Wine Spectator ‘Value wines’ July 31 2006: Hecht & Bannier Cotes du Roussillon-Villages 2003, 90 points $23; Wine Enthusiast 87 $22 8/01/2006.
(26) Caves de Byrrh (Thuir), www.byrrh.com: wine-based aperitif trademarked in 1873.
(27) Red Bicyclette from Languedoc ranked 6th among the top 30 brands in the US: IRI research, Vitisphere.com 14/04/2006.
(28) Deutsches Weininstitut newsletter Mainz, 22/05/2007.
(29) Nielsen year to Feb 24 2007, Off Licence News 20/04/2007.
(30) Database of 512 independent merchants, Off Licence News 18/05/2007.
(31) US drinks record 300m cases of wine in 2006, www.Decanter.com 29/01/2007.
(32) Conseil Interprofessionnel Vins du Languedoc AGM, Narbonne 17/11/2006.
(33) Vitisphere.com 5/01/2007.
(34) Tourisme de Terroir en Pyrénées-Orientales, Perpignan: CIVR, tourist office, Roussillon Chambre d’Agriculture and Conseil Général project.

Appendices part 2: production & sales data, questionnaires, list of participating estates.



(i) Production 2005-2006

2006 harvest: VDN (*1)
Surface ha
Total vol hl
Co-ops hl
Banyuls white
Banyuls red
Banyuls GC*
Muscat Rives*
Grand Rouss*
Maury white
Maury red
Rives red*
Rives amb*
Total VDN
2005 harvest: VDN (*1)
Surface ha
Total vol hl
Co-ops hl
Banyuls white
Banyuls red
Banyuls GC*
Muscat Rives*
Grand Rouss*
Maury white
Maury red
Rives red*
Rives amb*
Total VDN
*Banyuls Grand Cru; Muscat de Rivesaltes; Grand Roussillon red, white and rosé combined; Rivesaltes red includes Tuilé and Grenat styles; Rivesaltes ambré. Volume figures are in hectolitres of finished wine i.e. include fortifying alcohol.

2006: Côtes du Roussillon and Villages (*1)
Surface ha
Total vol hl
Co-ops hl
CDR white
CDR red
CDR rosé
CDR Villages
CDRV Cara*
CDRV Latour*
CDRV Lesqu*
CDRV Taut*
CDR Aspres
Collioure wh
Collioure red
Collioure rosé
Total CDR/V

2005: Côtes du Roussillon and Villages (*1)
Surface ha
Total vol hl
Co-ops hl
CDR white
CDR red
CDR rosé
CDR Villages
CDRV Cara*
CDRV Latour*
CDRV Lesqu*
CDRV Taut*
CDR Aspres
Collioure wh
Collioure red
Collioure rosé
Total CDR/V
*Côtes du Roussillon Villages + four named village subzones = Caramany, Latour-de-France, Lesquerde and Tautavel.

2006: Vins de pays, vins de table & other (*1)
Surface ha
Volume hl
Co-ops hl
Surplus* hl
VDP white*
VDP red*
VDP rosé*
Total VDP*

VDT white
VDT red
VDT rosé
Total VDT




Vines no prod*

Total 2006
29,487 ha
1,034,294 hl
779,395 hl
72,354 hl
2005: Vins de pays, vins de table & other (*1)
Surface ha
Volume hl
Co-ops hl
Surplus* hl
VDP white*
VDP red*
VDP rosé*
Total VDP*

VDT white
VDT red
VDT rosé
Total VDT




Vines no prod*

Total 2005
33,006 ha
1,157,537 hl
845,596 hl
83,175 hl
*VDP = sum of vin de pays Côtes Catalanes, d’Oc, des PO and Côte Vermeille (in descending order). *Surplus excludes 38,500 hl of wine lees included in 05-06 CIVR figures for accounting purposes. *Mistelles / vins de liqueurs = other fortified or sweet wines. *Grapes, must, juice and concentrate. *Young vines not in production.

(ii) Vine plantings/removal by variety in 2005 (*12)

04 v 05 %
Diff remove
v plant -/+
ha 04/05
Diff remove
v plant -/+
last 22 yrs
Grenache noir
Cabernet sauvignon
Lledoner pelut


Cabernet franc

Total red
Muscat petits grains
Muscat d’Alexandrie
Grenache blanc
Grenache gris



Tourbat (Malvoisie)



Total white
*Plantings quoted as ‘Cabernet’ = Sauvignon/Franc combined. *Red varieties: include Alicante & Aramon (virtually all ripped up), 1 ha Tempranillo planted 04/05 and 9 ha Cinsaut removed. *White varieties: Grenache blanc/gris plant/remove figs amalgamated, 7 ha Roussanne planted. *Miscellaneous includes 83 ha of Carignan blanc, 10 ha pulled up.

(iii) Production v shipments 2001-2006 (*1)

Muscat Rive
2001 volume hl
shipments hl

2002 volume

2003 volume

2004 volume

2005 volume

2006 volume
*Muscat de Rivesaltes; Banyuls and Grand Cru; all other Rivesaltes styles, Grand Roussillon and Maury together. Figures are for the PO only (the Rivesaltes and GR AOCs extend into the Aude département).
Dry AOC wines
CDR Village
2001 volume hl
shipments hl

2002 volume

2003 volume

2004 volume

2005 volume

2006 volume
*Côtes du Roussillon white, red (incl. Aspres) and rosé together; all Côtes du Roussillon Villages red; Collioure white, red and rosé.

(iv) Shipments by channel France & export (*1)
AOC dry wines
Channel %
Private customers
Convenience stores
Wine merchants
Multiple grocers
Shipments hl
Channel %
Private customers
Convenience stores
Wine merchants
Multiple grocers
Shipments hl

(v) Sales in France 2006 (Hyper/supermarkets & discounters *1)
Value €
% change 05
Average price
Muscat Roussillon
Muscat Rivesaltes
VDN excl. Muscat
Grand Roussillon
Other Rivesaltes
Muscat Frontignan
Muscat B de V
Muscat Samos
Muscat St. J de M
Dry wines: Languedoc-Roussillon v other
Value €
% change 05
Average price
AOC Lang-Rouss
VDP d’Oc

AOC L-R white
AOC Rouss white
L-R rosé
Roussillon rosé
L-R red
Roussillon red
*Total Languedoc-Roussillon all AOCs and colours; Vin de Pays d’Oc all styles; AOC Languedoc-Roussillon white, rosé and red compared to same colours all Roussillon AOCs; VDP PO = other vin de pays from Roussillon, all colours.

(vi) Exports
French wine exports 2006 by value (*13)
‘000 €
% change
Total AOC wine:
Cotes du Rhone
Loire valley
Vins de pays*
Vins de table
Total inc sparkling
Exports 2006 by market and value (*13)
‘000 €
% change
United Kingdom


Q1 Roussillon winemaker survey
NB. My analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) of the Roussillon wine industry will be based on “current challenges and reasons why, positive developments and future directions.”
Domaine and location:
Owner’s or manager’s name:
Production and sales
Surface area and varieties:
How many hectares at present?
Would you prefer more or less vineyard to be more profitable?
Are you planting / have you planted or removing / have removed a certain variety or varieties in favour of another, and why?
Generally, yields are low in the Roussillon: advantage or disadvantage?
Production costs, real estate prices:
Vineyard land is less expensive in the Roussillon? Price per ha?
And property prices compared to 5-10 years ago?
If you set up your domaine within the last five years, how long do you expect it to take for a return on investment?
Wine styles as a percentage and price of each (approx retail in €/£/$):
VDN of which Muscat or ambré or red styles
Red white rosé
Do you make a Muscat sec or plan to?
AOC / vin de pays
Bottles / BIB / bulk
Trends 2001-2006?
Channels as a percentage of turnover:
Multiple grocers / specialists
Independent merchants/wholesalers
Export, and which markets?
Trends 2001-2006?
Does the Roussillon have a distinct image for wine (and quality) among consumers?
And compared to the Languedoc or 'South of France' or Catalonia even?
In France (and still especially for VDNs?)             Abroad
(Also see below)
Generally speaking, do you think it’s still valid or are the rules too inflexible in terms of today’s market?
What about Côtes du Roussillon as a banner for the region?
Would it be better for the Roussillon to be part of ‘InterSud’ / South of France? Please comment further if you wish.
Do you believe it’s a good idea to develop 'cru' AOCs in the Roussillon – in terms of terroir, philosophy and economics – e.g. create more CDR Villages + village name such as Tautavel?
Or does this make it more complicated for the consumer?
(The Aspres: was the appellation properly thought out in your opinion? Image and price: is the wine enthusiast prepared to pay more for a CDR Les Aspres?)
Could you estimate the percentage of your turnover, as a share of your direct sales, due to tourism?
Do you offer any wine tourism events, organised walks, winemaker dinners etc?
Are you a member of an organisation such as 'Tourisme de Terroir en Pyrenées Orientales’ or ‘Gîtes de France’? If so, does it bring in significant income?
If not, are you planning to invest in wine tourism, e.g. build a better reception/tasting area or shop, restore a farm building to offer accommodation?
Apart from the environmental and marketing advantages, is it really one of the Roussillon’s assets in particular?                   Is organic winegrowing easier here?
I understand that oidium is the most widespread disease – are small quantities of sulphur usually enough to treat it, or is it a very serious problem?

Q1b: the thirty estates
See list below with contact details.

Q2 Roussillon trade questionnaire
My analysis of "the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for the Roussillon wine industry" will focus on "current challenges, positive developments and future directions." 
Identity - does the Roussillon have a distinct image for wine (and quality) for your customers and the American wine drinker in general? And compared to the Languedoc or south of France or Catalonia even?
Customers - who's buying these wines: specialist wine shops, restaurants, internet sales? What's the average price, retail and in a restaurant, or would be ideally if you imported any Roussillon wines?
What do you think their reds offer in terms of wine styles, quality, value and/or innovation? And theirrosés: does the US market represent a good opportunity?
Do you think the Cotes du Roussillon or CDR Villages appellation is important as a banner for the region? Or better to focus on, e.g. super-vins de pays varietals made from Grenache, Carignan, Syrah?
Is there a market for Vins Doux Naturels in the States? Given the amount of Muscat variety planted, is there any potential for Dry Muscat white wines?

Q3 Roussillon wine writers questionnaire
Identity - does the Roussillon have a distinct image for wine (and quality)? And compared to the Languedoc or south of France or Catalonia even? Please sum up what you consider to be the Roussillon's main strengths and weaknesses.
What do you think their reds offer in terms of wine styles, quality, value and/or innovation? And theirrosés: does the UK market represent a good opportunity for them?
Visibility - do you see more or less of these wines in wine shops or restaurants? Would you buy a bottle and how much would you be prepared to pay?
Do you think the Cotes du Roussillon or CDR Villages appellation is important as a banner for the region? Or is it better to focus on, e.g. super-vins de pays varietals based on Grenache, Carignan, Syrah?
Is there any following for Vins Doux Naturels sweet wines? Given the amount of the Muscat variety planted in the Roussillon, is there any potential for Dry Muscat? Does the style suit British tastes and is Muscat beginning to register interest as a varietal wine?

Q1b The 30 Estates
Owner/manager Location Email Phone Website
Mas Alart BELMAS Frédéric Saleilles frederic.belmas@wanadoo.fr 04 68 50 51 89 www.mas-alart.fr
Domaine Calvet-Thunevin CALVET Jean-Roger and THUNEVIN Jean Luc Maury calvet.marie@wanadoo.fr 04 68 59 20 73 / 06 16 66 93 75 www.thunevin.com
Chateau La Casenove MONTÈS Etienne Trouillas chateau.la.casenove@wanadoo.fr 04 68 21 66 33 rhone.vignobles.free.fr/pagesgb/montes.htm
Domaine Cazes CAZES Emmanuel and LAVAIL Lionel Rivesaltes lionel.lavail@cazes.com 04 68 64 08 26 www.cazes-rivesaltes.com
Clot de l'Oum MONNÉ Eric & Lèia OBARA Bélesta emonne@web.de 06 60 57 69 62 www.clotdeloum.com
Mas dels Clots PIQUEMAL Michel Salses-Le-Chateau michel.piquemal@masdesclots.com 04 68 64 20 13 / www.masdesclots.com
Domaine Coume del Mas GARD Philippe Banyuls sur Mer coumedelmas@tiscali.fr 04 68 88 37 03 / 06 86 81 71 32
Domaine Coume Majou CHARLIER Luc Corneilla de la Riviere charlier.luc@wanadoo.fr 04 68 51 84 83
Mas Crémat JEANNIN Catherine Espira de l'Agly mascremat@mascremat.com www.mascremat.com
Domaine Depeyre DEPEYRE Serge & Brigitte BILE Cases-de-Pene brigitte.bile@orange.fr 04 68 28 32 19
Clos des Fées BIZEUL Hervé Vingrau info@closdesfees.com 04 68 29 40 00 www.closdesfees.com
Domaine Força Réal HENRIQUÈS Cyril et Jean-Paul Millas cyril@forcareal.com 04 68 85 06 07 www.forcareal.com
Domaine Gardiès GARDIÈS Jean Espira de l'Agly gardies.jean@wanadoo.fr
Domaine Gauby GAUBY Gérard and Lionel Calce domaine.gauby@wanadoo.fr,info@domainegauby.fr 04 68 64 35 19 www.domainegauby.fr
Chateau de Jau DAURÉ Simon and Estelle Cases-de-Pene daure@wanadoo.fr
Vignobles Bernard Magrez RAYNAL Jean-Marc / Bernard MAGREZ Montner raynalsud@free.fr 06 80 30 72 24 / 04 68 80 24 81 www.bernard-magrez.com
Domaine Marcevol PREDAL Guy Vinca marcevolpredal@wanadoo.fr 04 68 05 74 34
Domaine Matassa LUBBE Tom & HARROP Sam Calce matassa@wanadoo.fr 04 68 64 10 13
Clos de Paulilles DAURÉ Simon / PAGES Frédéric Port Vendres daure@wanadoo.fr 04 68 98 07 58
Domaine Pechpeyrou DE GUITAUT Bertrand Banyuls sur Mer bertrand.evelyne@wanadoo.fr 04 68 82 57 24 / 06 70 76 22 76
Domaine Pithon PITHON Olivier Calce pithon.olivier@wanadoo.fr www.domaineolivierpithon.com
Préceptoire de Centernach LEGRAND Vincent Saint Arnac (Maury) legrandvin@wanadoo.fr 04 68 81 02 94 www.la-rectorie.com
Domaine Rancy Brigitte & Jean-HubertVERDAGUER Latour-de-France info@domaine-rancy.com 04 68 29 03 47 / 06 87 11 15 18 www.domaine-rancy.com
Domaine La Rectorie PARCÉ Marc, Pierre, Thierry Banyuls sur Mer larectorie@wanadoo.fr,vignesorientales@orange.fr / 04 68 81 02 94 / 06 82 67 04 10 / 06 80 01 75 76 www.la-rectorie.com
Domaine Singla DE BESOMBES-SINGLA Laurent Rivesaltes/Camélas laurent.debesombes@free.fr 04 68 28 30 68 / 06 11 77 07 11; www.domainesingla.com
Domaine Le Soula Richards Walford UK & Gérard Gauby St Martin de Fenouillet Roy@r-w.co.uk See www.domainegauby.fr
Domaine Treloar HESFORD Jonathan & Rachel Trouillas hesfordj@hotmail.com,info@domainetreloar.com 04 68 95 02 29 / 06 50 88 21 70 www.domainetreloar.com
Domaine Trois Orris GRALER Joep Tarerach joep.graler@wanadoo.fr,troisorris@wanadoo.fr 04 68 05 29 19 / 06 75 02 51 00 www.troisorris.org
Chateau Valmy CARBONNELL Bernard and Martine Argelès-sur-Mer chateau.valmy@tiscali.fr,contact@chateau-valmy.com 04 68 81 25 70 www.chateau-valmy.com
Domaine des Vents PELEGRY Arnaud / C. CARRELAS Saint Paul de Fenouillet domainedesvents@wanadoo.fr 06 10 32 14 84 / 04 68 59 22 63
Domaine Vinci Emmanuelle VINCI / Olivier VARICHON Estagel Vinciemmanuelle@aol.com www.domainevinci.com


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Header image: Château de Flandry, Limoux, Languedoc. Background: Vineyard near Terrats in Les Aspres, Roussillon.