The Foire aux Vins has been giving wine-lovers a chance to stock up on discounted bottles in supermarkets and wine shops throughout France since the 1970's.
This autumn, French winemakers have more stock than normal due to bans on international exports and the closure of hotel restaurants during the Covid-19 epidemic.
On top of this, French wine sales have also been affected by American taxes on non-sparkling wines, the political crisis in Hong Kong and a reduction in exports to China.
Consequently, heavy discounts are expected.
Jean-Marie Cardebat, professor of economics specialising in wine at the University of Bordeaux told news source La Depeche: “The vats are full, and stocks are full too. As such, prices have gone down. The Foire aux Vins is the opportunity for professionals to sell large quantities.”
Jérôme Baudouin, editor of wine magazine La Revue du Vin added: “Taking the crisis into account, you can sense that a supermarkets and wine shop owners will be obliged to make an effort [and reduce prices].”
Foire aux Vins will help the wine industry
Analysis from the Nielsen Institute shows the seven-week Foire aux Vins generates €1 billion in revenue for the French wine industry, equivalent to 18% of annual sales.
As well as winemakers, large supermarkets also hope to capitalise on the event. The Foire aux Vins traditionally attracts crowds looking to find bargain bottles of wine, and supermarkets hope that this year it will help to draw shoppers back into stores following the Covid-19 crisis.
To help achieve this, they plan to slash prices to encourage large quantities of sales, and they are expanding their range of suppliers. Mr Baudouin said: “This year we are seeing brands that we haven’t usually seen in large supermarkets in previous years.” These include premium brands, normally reserved for restaurants and specialist wine shops.
Consumers ready to build up wine supplies
Professor Cardebat believes many wine-lovers will use this years’ Foire aux Vins to restock their supplies. A study from The European Association of Wine Economists shows that people in France delved into their personal collections during confinement. He says: “As such, they’re going to want to build up their supplies again.”
With low prices, quality brands of offer and customers keen to buy, Professor Cardebat predicts “the stars are aligned” for a successful 2020 edition of the Foire aux Vins for both consumers, shops and winemakers.
However, this may not be enough to counteract what has, overall, been a difficult year. He says: “the Foire aux Vins will be without a doubt a way of rectifying losses linked to the months of confinement. But it will not save the year.”
When is the Foire aux Vins in my supermarket?
Although the Foire aux Vins lasts for seven weeks in total, dates for each supermarket vary.
Auchan 22 September - 6 October 2020
Biocoop 8 September - 17 October 2020
Carrefour Market 25 September - 11 October 2020
Carrefour Hypermarchés 8 -21 September 2020
Casino (supermarket) 28 August - 13 September 2020
Franprix 23 September - 11 October 2020
Géant Casino 1 - 13 September 2020
Hyper U 29 September - 10 October 2020
Intermarché 8 - 27 September 2020
Lidl From 2 September 2020
Monoprix 18 September - 4 October 2020
Naturalia 24 September - 16 October 2020
Super U 29 September - 10 October 2020
Wine shops and online suppliers are also participating.