- "The final request window for grapevine grubbing is open for one month from Monday 20 November," the Gironde prefecture announced on Sunday.
- The objective of this plan to grubble up up to 9,500 hectares of vines is to "de-densify the Bordeaux vineyards in order to stop the spread of flavescence dorée [one of the most damaging diseases of the vineyard]."
- Depending on whether or not winegrowers wish to continue a viticultural or agricultural activity, the terms and conditions for accessing the premium are not the same, and to date, the plan looks unbalanced, with the majority of requests relating to diversification.
Approved by the European Commission on 3 November, the sanitary grubbing-up of vines in Gironde saw its implementing decree published in the Official Journal on Sunday. "The final grubbing-up request window is open for one month from Monday, November 20," the prefecture announced. 20 Minutes takes stock of the situation.
Why uproot vines?
The aim is to "de-densify the Bordeaux vineyards in order to stop the spread of flavescence dorée [one of the most damaging diseases of the vineyard]," the Gironde prefecture said on 12 October. Having suffered various crises in recent years, many Gironde winegrowers have had to abandon part of their vineyards, which has favoured the progression of this disease. In the end, the grubbing-up plan concerns some 9,500 hectares of vines in Bordeaux, a vineyard that covers 110,000 hectares. However, several professionals warn about the economic situation of small winegrowers in Bordeaux, particularly because of the decline in red wine consumption in France, which could lead to further abandonment of plots in the coming years. Bernard Farges, vice-president of the Interprofessional Council of Bordeaux Wine (CIVB), pleads for "more diversification" within Bordeaux wines, as he explained to 20 Minutes last February.
How is this vineyard grubbing-up aid plan financed?
The aid for the sanitary grubbing-up of vines in Gironde is a new scheme with a total budget of 57 million euros, financed by the State on the one hand, and by the CIVB on the other. The CIVB's aid, which amounts to €19 million, concerns winegrowers who wish to develop a new agricultural activity, while the State aid, of €38 million, concerns winegrowers who wish to stop all agricultural activity. This scheme aims to uproot up to 9,500 hectares with aid of 6,000 euros per hectare.
How will this plan work for winegrowers?
Depending on whether or not winegrowers wish to continue a viticultural or agricultural activity, the terms and conditions for accessing the premium are not the same. In the event of a total shutdown, in order to benefit from the renaturation aid financed by the State, the winegrower undertakes to irreversibly uproot the eligible plots, with the obligation to reforest them or convert them into a natural area for a minimum period of 20 years. The aid financed by the CIVB accompanies a diversification of crops (which can be kiwi, olive trees, hemp, etc.) for those who want to continue.
Who are the candidates for grubbing-up?
Nearly 1,100 applications for grubbing-up authorisation have already been submitted, i.e. around 20% of the Gironde winegrowers, with 300 professionals even declaring that they want to stop all viticultural or agricultural activities. These requests will have to be formalized via the one-stop shop that opens on Monday. The problem is that, as it stands, the plan looks unbalanced, since to date "the demands for diversification (...) exceed the €19 million available [CIVB envelope]," says the prefecture, while the State's envelope of €38 million (to renature the soil) is expected to be reached. This is why "only diversification applications submitted during the pre-application are currently eligible for this component, within the limit of the total surface areas indicated per file", specifies the prefecture.
At the end of the application period, eligible applicants will then receive an Authorisation to Commence Work (ACT) to carry out the grubbing-up, before 31 May 2024.
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