18 June 2020, The Tablet

Bordeaux’s woes

From the vineyard

Bordeaux’s woes

The seemingly perverse logic of human intervention is that solutions easily become problems: the legacy of lockdown may yet prove longer lasting than the virus itself. Though admittedly a “First World Problem”, Bordeaux’s already seriously ailing wine trade has not escaped the consequences, first of lockdown and now of quarantine. Even before the coronavirus crisis, overall sales last year plummeted by 12 per cent. The once lucrative Chinese market fell by 18 per cent; and, now, the imposition of US trade tariffs has dented all French wine exports across the Pond.

As if all this were not bad enough, the pandemic has forced the cancellation of one of the wine world’s most celebrated occasions and an event critical for the Bordeaux market, the annual en primeur tasting week, for which thousands of merchants, retailers, journalists and wine critics descend on the city and region to taste young, still-barrelled wines and make deals that effectively secure the industry’s survival.

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