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Sunday 9 August 2020

Government to the rescue of French wine producers

The French government has announced it will spend an additional €80 million to support the nation’s wine industry after global lockdowns have badly hit sales.

Prime Minister Jean Castex said the state will raise its support plan to wine growing to €250 million “and we will request this aid to be distributed as quickly as possible because cash needs are pressing”.

The funds have been set aside to support French wine businesses after lockdowns closed restaurants and bars and US tariffs curbed exports, Drinks Business reported.

Wineries can apply for aid from the so-called "solidarity fund", a state-guaranteed loan, tax and social payment deferral scheme.

The announcement comes two months after the government had already pledged to ramp up its support package, which would help wineries to store rather than distil surplus wine.

“Supporting our winegrowers in the face of the crisis also means safeguarding our common heritage and its artisans,” Castex said. ”The support plan for the sector will be increased to €250 million: I hope that they will be effected as quickly as possible.”

France’s largest farming union, the Fédération Nationale des Syndicats d’Exploitants Agricoles (FNSEA), had previously called for a larger €500m support package for the French wine industry, including a €260 million crisis distillation scheme which would be used to distill around 3 million hectolitres.

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