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Cognac’s new measures to secure ‘long-term growth’

The Cognac industry is pushing forward with plans to safeguard its future by “accelerating” the expansion of the region’s vineyard surface area and banning chemical weeding in some areas.

Cognac’s vineyard surface area is increasing

In order to “sustain the medium- and long-term growth” of Cognac, the sector will plant an additional 10,000 hectares of vineyard space “consistent with export forecasts” over the course of three years, according to the Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac (BNIC).

“To meet the growing demand of the market in 2019, Cognac production has accelerated,” a BNIC spokesperson told The Spirits Business. “The Cognac sector will continue developing the production capacity of winegrowing operations by giving them the opportunity to expand their vineyards.”

The vineyard surface area is being increased within the Cognac appellation zone. For 2019, the industry was allocated 3,474 hectares. In 2020 and 2021, the industry will endeavour to plant an additional 3,398 hectares.

“This planting plan is the result of a collective effort by the winegrowers and merchants of the Cognac appellation, carried out through their business plan,” the BNIC continued. “This foresight and long-term vision tool makes it possible to establish the production needs of the sector, in line with market forecasts.”

In August this year, the trade association revealed that Cognac exports had risen for a fifth consecutive year to reach record figures in volume and value terms. Shipments topped 211.1 million bottles, while value exports hit €3.4 billion (US$3.7bn).

The industry has also recently “evolved” its regulations, according to the BNIC. In order to “preserve the terroir’s environment and resources”, chemical weeding of vineyard plots has been banned and winegrowers must control vegetation “by mechanical means”. In addition, chemical weeding of field boundaries has been banned.

The BNIC has implemented a transitory period for the ban from July this year to August 2020, after which time all producers and winegrowers must adhere to it.

At the start of this year, the laws that govern Cognac were also adapted to include an Extra Extra Old – or XXO – age statement for blends. Cognacs that carry the label must be aged for at least 14 years.

The Spirits Business recently analysed the Cognac sector in its World Spirits Report, published in its December 2019 issue – out now.

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