France approves a 140 million euro wine distillation aid plan


PARIS (Reuters) – France on Monday approved support for French winegrowers to distill excess wine into alcohol following lower demand due to restaurant and bar closings and lower exports in because of additional US tariffs, but the measures did not respond to requests from the unions.

The government has authorized a crisis mechanism of 140 million euros (151 million dollars) for distillation, declared on Twitter the Minister of Agriculture Didier Guillaume and the Minister of Economy Bruno Le Maire without giving more details.

They have also allowed payroll tax exemptions for small and medium-sized businesses, they said.

Last month, the European Commission decided to support crisis management measures in the wine sector and other agricultural sectors affected by the new coronavirus crisis.

The proposed measures did not meet the expectations of the largest French agricultural union, the FNSEA, which last week asked for a total of 500 million euros in aid to winegrowers, including support for the distillation of 260 million euros, covering approximately 3 million hectoliters (Mhl).

The government plan was more like 2 million hectolitre, FNSEA secretary general Jerome Despey said on Twitter.

“The wine plan opposite Covid-19 was announced this evening: exemption from social security contributions at 100% and distillation for 2 Mhl at 70 euros / hl on average. We asked for 3 Mhl at 80 euros / hl. This is a first step (…), which must be accomplished, “he said.

Report by Sybille de La Hamaide; edited by Grant McCool

Our standards:Principles of the Thomson Reuters Trust.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here