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Thursday 4 May 2023

Fitou wine region tired of being overlooked

The Fitou AOC wine region in southern France is something of a well-kept secret - which is a source of some local angst.

The appellation in the Aude department produces stylish reds, sometimes with a rustic edge, usually made from a blend of carignan and grenache grapes.

But the grape growers and winemakers of Fitou have just thrown a wobbly by walking out on the Languedoc regional wine trade body (the Conseil Interprofessionnel des Vins du Languedoc or CIVL).

The Fitou producers say they have been overlooked by the CIVL when it comes to marketing and will formally leave the CIVL on December 31.

French wine news website, reported the vote to leave was held at a general meeting of the Fitou winegrowers' union last month with 34 votes in favour of leaving the CIVL, 20 votes against, and one abstention.

So not exactly an overwhelming majority in the secret ballot.

"Despite holding two conciliation commissions our demands haven't been met,” the head of the Fitou union, Alain Gleyzes, told

"I don't want to fork out for petrol for a car I'm not getting a ride in," he said earlier. "I think I'd rather stab a tyre and tip sugar in the tank."

Among other grievances are the CIVL's reluctance to increase regional promotions in China.

“All promotional efforts go towards a flagship appellation - Languedoc - which, in the hierarchy of our appellations, is basically a lower-end denomination, a fallback if our wines are not at Fitou level," said Gleyzes.

This is not the first time Fitou has left the CIVL: it also dropped out of the regional body for five years between 2007 and 2012.

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