Catherine Le Page and Bernard Guion – Director and President of the Cognac lobby BNIC made the first move to protest against the proposed European liberalization of vine planting rights.
This planned new law was mooted by Brussels back in 2008 and is planned to come into effect on 01 Jan 2016. In effect, it will take away all restriction on planting vines, allowing an uncontrolled and perhaps reckless increase in the amount of vines and their quality controls.
Back in the 1970’s, Cognac experienced the downside of this occurrence when their vineyards spiralled out of control – rising from 60,000 hectares to nearly 110,000. Today the area has stabilized to around 71,000.
Last week the AOC took up the fight and the wine and spirit official organizations are adding their weight to the battle along with other wine producing countries of the EU. Already the AOC has the support of the German Minister of Agriculture, Bruno Le Marie, and President Sarkozy is also against the move.
What the AOC is pushing for is shared control between all the professional industry bodies. In particular, the BNIC is concerned about the lack of quality and geographical control (GI) which could, in theory allow alcohol produced outside of this area to overnight be able to call itself cognac.
Read more about the plantation issue, here.
Sources: www.charentelibre.fr, www.sudouest.fr