Over 250 Million Bottles’ Worth of French Wine Will Be Distilled into Industrial Alcohol
FRENCH winemakers are looking to sell off some of the excess wine that has not been consumed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Reports suggest that the unsellable amount in Europe could be well over a billion bottles’ worth. The main proposed solution has been to distil this excess into industrial alcohol that could be used for things like much-needed hand sanitiser. To help these winemakers out, the EU has a scheme to compensate them for this extra product; however, even at the relatively small price of 53 centimes per 750 millilitres, the cost adds up when dealing with such large quantities, meaning wineries had to wait for government approval. Now, the French government has reportedly taken its first step: agreeing to compensate producers about €140 million for 250 million bottles’ worth of wine.
Yesterday, French officials announced what’s being called “the first series of specific support measures” for the country’s wine industry. Among a number of financial benefits, France approved this first round of “crisis distillation” – though the terms were not entirely what the industry had asked for. Winemakers were hoping to sell off 50 per cent more wine at a higher cost per 750 millilitres. In response, the Ministry of Agriculture apparently said this is only “a first step before a review of the effect of this measure on the market.”