Bernard Peillon, CEO of Hennessy Cognac, delighted thousands of cognac growers when he spoke at the Espace 3000 Cognac meeting on last Wednesday.
The ambitious plans of the cognac house to annually produce 10 million cases by 2018 naturally means that demand for eaux-de-vie will rise – good news for the growers. The recent installation of ‘Line 14’ at the La Vignerie de Châteaubernard is a major step towards this goal.
Hennessy’s success of being the world number three of major international spirits, in terms of value, after Johnny Walker and Smirnoff (number 16 in terms of volume), means that in turn this good fortune is passed onto the growers.
However, the increased demand for the raw materials means that plans need to be put into place as soon as possible to cope with this. At some point, says Peillon, we need to “seriously talk about the expansion of planting areas.”
This sentiment was echoed by Hennessy Cellar Master, Yann Fillioux, who braved the extremely controversial subject of the liberalisation of planting rights.
“It is necessary to strike a balance,” he said, adding that the cognac house is well aware of the growers concerns at the proposed EU changes.
The meeting also covered other obstacles that could lower production volumes for the growers, including that of the disease, Flavescence Dorée, an issue that currently only around one third of all cognac vineyards are enrolled in the prevention scheme. Growers were urged to do their part to ensure that this doesn’t become a major issue in the future.