Champagne agrees drop in production
The Champagne industry has agreed to reduce yields and cut production by 40% for the 2009 harvest to satisfy demands of the big houses to not add surplus supplies to already high stocks and preserve prices.
The basic yield has been set at 8,000kg per hectare but growers will be allowed to pick up to 9,700kg per hectare. The average yield last year was 14,200kg per hectare which produced 405 million bottles of Champagne.
As part of the deal, Champagne houses will only have to pay for the 8,000kg/ha of grapes in the usual quarterly payments over the 12 months after the harvest.
But they will also pay the growers for the additional 1,700kg/ha in the November of the following year.
The houses are only allowed to bottle the 8,000kg/ha, while the extra 1,700kg/ha remains declassified until the October of the following year.
However, growers, which own over 90% of the vineyards in Champagne, will be allowed to bottle the full yield of 9,700kg/ha immediately after the harvest.