Wine Slump Could Sober France Up

Oenologists and discerning winos alike are looking at a disappointing vintage out of southwest France this year.

Abnormal weather patterns, a currency imbalance and an increasingly shunned elitist tag are making Bordeaux wines hard to sell.

Wine Spectator reports the U.S. and British import markets are not buying in the nearly the volumes they used to. In 2008 it was 3 percent less Bordeaux for the U.S. market with the Brits not far behind. An inflated euro makes garnering a profit even on popular vintages hard and many retailers are taking the unheard of step of selling bottles below cost. French producers who switched to costly organic and biodynamic methods in recent years have been hit even harder and some wine experts say risk disappearing entirely.

One of the few brights spots on the global market is Asia where a taste for wine is still nascent but could pick up the slack as the market grows.

Still, industry experts say Bordeaux has a bit of an image problem. Alain Vironneau,chief of the Bordeaux Winemaker’s Association said recently “We have to change this image of Bordeaux associated with arrogance and black ties."

The domestic market is unlikely to come to the rescue for Bordeaux. France is mulling raising the drinking age to 18 shortly which unsurprisingly has many producers saying, incroyable!

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