French vintners to turn surplus wine into hand sanitizer
With wine sales dipping due to the coronavirus pandemic, French vintners are to turn their unsold wine into ethanol and hand sanitizer to make way for the new vintage.
As reported by The Guardian, government agency FranceAgriMer said that nearly 3 million hectolitres of surplus wine needed distilling due to plunging sales during the Covid-19 crisis.
From today, 33 distilleries across France have been authorised to collect 2m hectolitres of unsold wine to transform it into ethanol and hand sanitizer in order to make room for the 2020 vintage.
The unprecedented move will be financed by the EU. Vintners have until 19 June to apply for the scheme, stating how much of their unsold wine stocks they wish to be distilled.
The alcohol produced through the distilling process will be used for the production of hand sanitizer to be used by the pharmaceutical, medical and cosmetics industries.
Winemakers will be paid €78 per hectolitre for AOC wine and €58 for wines that have no designated appellation of origin. Similar steps are being taken in Spain and Italy to deal with the surplus of wine brought about by the coronavirus crisis.
French winemakers have seen their sales plummet due to the perfect storm of the Covid-19 pandemic wiping out the on-trade coupled with Trump’s 25% tariffs. According to The Guardian, wine exports to the US halved after Trump introduced punitive 25% tariffs last October.