Fitou formally votes to leave Languedoc trade body
The appellation of Fitou in the South of France has formally voted to leave the Conseil Interprofessionnel des Vins du Languedoc (CIVL) at the end of the year, it has been reported – a move first mooted more than 18 months ago.
A general meeting of Fitou’s winegrowers union on 13 April voted to leave the CIVL, with 34 votes in favour, 20 votes against, and one abstention, Vitisphere.com has reported.
The appellation claims that it has been “overlooked” in marketing produced by the CIVL in recent months, who had prioritising more generic publicity campaigns over individual appellations, the President of the Syndicate for the defence of Fitou Cru, Alain Gleyzes, told the website.
“The CIVL highlights the wines of Languedoc without leaving room for our appellations,” Alain Gleyzes told Vitisphere.com, adding that “all promotional efforts go towards a flagship appellation – Languedoc – which, in the hierarchy of our appellations, is basically a lower-end denomination, a fallback if our wines are not at Fitou level.”
He said that despite holding two conciliation commissions with the trade body, the majority of the appellation’s demands were not met. These included a reorientation of comms directed at China, which consumes more red wine, rather than towards the US or Canada, a greater focus on mass distribution, better distribution of money in line with appellations’ contributions, and a shortening of the 18 months notice period to withdraw from the trade body to six months.
The Languedoc trade body, the Conseil Interprofessionnel des Vins du Languedoc (CIVL) have been approached for comment.
Fitou is one of three appellations, along with Corbières and Faugères, who said they would withdraw from the organisation in May last year after their existing three-year agreement expires in December 2023. A fourth appellation, Malepère, narrowly voted to remain in the CIVL.
The furore was in response to a decision in July 2021 to do away with the longstanding but informal understanding whereby producers who did more than 50% of direct marketing for the sale of their wines (rather than relying on the CIVL for marketing) could have a 30% seat allocation within the organisation’s Traders’ Assembly. The Union of Mediterranean Viticultural Businesses, which represents negóciants in the Assembly, argued at the time that so-called “direct marketers” had no place in the assembly – and that it was bringing the Languedoc trade body in line with France’s other wine trade organisations. However, Gleyzes told Vitisphere that the exclusion treated direct marketers “as if they were unclean”.
Fitou previously withdrew from the CIVL in 2006 over a dispute concerning payments to the CIVL, in which its winemakers paid €4 per hectolitre to CIVL compared to other appellations’s payment of €3, although it returned in 2012.
Corbières and Faugères are expected to hold a vote at their own general meetings in June.