Cognac’s growing pains distil into vine war

Cognac harvesting
Grapes of plenty, harvesting in the Cognac region

Sales are booming but success brings a whole raft of new dilemmas, writes Brian McCulloch

After many years of crisis, Cognac is doing well, very well.

But a return to profits brings problems that would have seemed minor in the late 1990s, when bankruptcy threatened many family vineyards, diggers were pulling up vines, and the big four Cognac houses were laying people off instead of hiring.

The key question is whether the authorities should allow more Cognac vines to be planted to increase production, given the eight-year timescale between planting and significant production.

Members of the controlling Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac (BNIC) started the decision process last month. “It is a complex process, codified in the Business Plan Cognac, where négociants say how much they think they will sell ...

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