Flere druer at plukke betyder mere arbejde til næste høst.
Next vendange we will be allowed to pick more grapes.
INAO - the authority that controls the French AOC's (Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée) - has decreed a new and higher quota of 15.500 kilos of grapes per hectare. At the moment the total quota is 13.000 kilos/hectare.
This does not mean that you should expect more bottles of champagne on a market that these years only grows and grows.
The exstra kilos will work as a possible extra blocked reserve. This means that you can pick more grapes and make wine from them. But the authorities - INAO in cooperation with the CIVC - keyorganisation of the champagneindustry - will decide the division between a quota for direct production and a quote for blocked reserves. And at the moment the maximum will remain the 13.000 kilos per hectare, that were picked this year.
So the stage is set for an increase that is not directed towards producing more champagne. It will rather work as a sort of buffer. For the individual winegrower as a protection against loosing the entire yield due to nature catastrophies such as hard summerhail, springfrost, hard winterfrost or disease.
This sort of protection is fine. But it is also a choice, an investment. Since the development of more reserves also means more expenses for instance to pick the grapes long time before you will actually see your money back. It will probably also mean that less grapes will left to rot on the vines, as surplus grapes will normally end their days today.
Blocked reserves regularly released
The last years - where I have followed the business - the authorities have regularly released a part of the blocked reserves for ordinary production as demand has grown or due to problems caused by hail, frost and so on.
Back in 2003 we ourselves lost 40 percent of the potential due to spring frost. But as we were allowed to deblock reserves, we still managed to deliver the full quota for production.
In 2006 the maximum possible amount of grapes - 13.000 kilos per hectare - were harvested and send straight in production. Nothing was kept for reserves.
A quota of 13.000 kilos of grapes per hectare corresponds with a potential of 360 million bottles of champagne. At the moment the sales run up into 318 million bottles this year, so even in an area with good growth there is still a margin between what is produced and what is sold.
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