“For our salvation, we must explore all avenues”, the president of the Côtes-du-Rhône union announces the launch of studies on de-alcoholization

“For our salvation, we must explore all avenues”, the president of the Côtes-du-Rhône union announces the launch of studies on de-alcoholization

Vignerons à Pont-Saint-Esprit et Saint-Just-d'Ardèche, Damien Gilles et Philippe Faure, respectivement président et secrétaire général du syndicat des vignerons des côtes-du-rhône qui compte 4000 adhérents. C. C. – Midi Libre

The new president of the union, Spiripontain Damien Gilles, presents his roadmap in a context of a "brutal and unprecedented" crisis, and affirms his commitment: "May the winegrowers of the Côtes-du-Rhône can live with dignity." 

In a context of tensions, "an unprecedented situation, a brutal and overwhelming crisis", Damien Gilles and Philippe Faure , president and secretary general of the Côtes-du-Rhône winegrowers' union, held a press conference this Tuesday in Avignon, in order to present the roadmap of the new president which complements that of his predecessor. "We must move forward to find solutions."

A president from Gard, winegrower in Pont-Saint-Esprit 

Damien Gilles, 37, was elected at the end of December for three years as president of the union which has 4,000 members. Le Gardois is a winegrower in Pont-Saint-Esprit, cooperator of the Saint-Paulet-de-Caisson cooperative cellar. Since his father retired, he manages the 30 ha estate with his mother. "I am perfectly aware of the reality on the ground." He shows his determination: "We will fight every day so that the winegrowers of the Côtes-du-Rhône can live with dignity."< /em>

 The main axes for the future 

"We thought we would have a few years to reposition ourselves. This is not the case" said Damien Gilles. Here are the axes supported by the union: adapting production potential to the market; strengthen support for members and support farms; diversify and innovate; become an environmental and societal benchmark (54% of areas already certified, target 100% by 2035); develop communication in France and abroad. For the’"adjustment of production to marketing", Damien Gilles spoke of crisis distillation and the small 2023 harvest which should "allow economic balance to be restored. Indeed, the volumes available for sale are in line with market needs". He highlighted the encouraging indicators: "Our name remains a sure value. In France, we are the leader in the large and medium-sized supermarket market (9% of red sales), we are also the leader in organic products". For the union, it is about "rebounding on our historic market: half of the volume sold is in our beautiful country. And in exports, we were the victim of a global context but we still have room to make ". Adaptation to the markets for whites and rosés will continue while for red, "our DNA", a plan "dynamic and determined" is announced. Just as the union reaffirms its commitment to its members to "support the environmental transition, help with training", etc.

"Fair and sustainable remuneration" 

This is the enormous problem facing winegrowers (read box). On the question of "fair and sustainable remuneration", the president says he is combative. & quot;The union is working with Inter Rhône on fair remuneration with floor prices and the Egalim law. We already have a benchmark on production costs" so that "a system is put in place as quickly as possible which makes it possible not to sell below production costs".

Tear ? 

"The government has announced that there will be definitive uprooting. We only have national figures: 100,000 potential hectares in France. For the Côtes-du-Rhône, this could be 2 to 3,000 ha", asks Damien Gilles. The union is working on the establishment of intermediate crops and submitted a TERROIR project in the fall, with a response expected in the spring.

Studies on dealcoholization  

Unthinkable until recently, the step has been taken. "We must not forbid ourselves anything. For our sake, we must explore all avenues." Damien Gilles announced that the union will begin studies on de-alcoholization this year. "There is a general lack of interest in alcohol, why not work on partial or total dealcoholization ? We are going to start studies. This is a long-term project. We are going to release profiles, experiment with them. This is the unknown."

Deep distress and incomprehension towards marketers

The newspaper Vaucluse Matin revealed in its Tuesday edition March 12 the creation of the Vallée du Rhône wine movement (MVVR) by winegrowers "à bout". They are launching a final cry of warning to brokers, traders and all leaders in the sector. They are being given a final deadline to assert decent prices", we can read in the columns of the regional daily. "I regret but I understand this cry of distress, reacted Damien Gilles. I am personally in a difficult situation. the image of theirs. These people, I would have liked to have seen them. If they call me, we can accompany them […]. We participated in in the four departments that concern us at break down the 80 M€ of the government. […] Let the government take its responsibilities on floor prices in particular."  "We sell at 2005 prices, completed Philippe Faure. Our region is dying and a wounded beast does not give up."& nbsp;On this deep distress, the president adds: "Prices are falling with nothing to show for it. the horizon. We really don't understand the market. and marketers who play a funny game. A game that we will actually have to stop, and clarify."

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