Forget the beaujolais, remember Mururoa

FRENCH TEST FALLOUT

ANTHONY ROSE

Wine Correspondent

For once, Claude Taittinger has nothing to celebrate. The president of the prestigious champagne producer yesterday added his voice to fears in France's wine trade that the test protests were encouraging a wave of consumer boycotts which might well affect exports for months to come.

"It's a shame that we announced in June something that we began doing in September," Mr Taittinger said. "We're going to suffer for a few months until the tests are over."

The French Wine and Spirits Association yesterday confirmed that French wine sales in Denmark had plunged 10 per cent in July, and anti-nuclear boycotts were strongly suspected to be the reason. Jerome Quiot, the association president, said that the effect would not be fully noticed until November, when the new vintage wines come on the market. Normally, up to two-thirds of some new wines such as beaujolais are exported.

Mr Quiot has told French government officials of his concern about a permanent loss of market share in some countries. "We're not persuaded that the effects will stop the day the tests end," he said.

At the moment anti-French activity is at its strongest in Denmark and Sweden. But fears of a widespread boycott affecting the French wine industry - which is estimated to employ, directly and indirectly, a million people - are equally focused on the Netherlands and Germany, both of which are critical markets for France.

The French Wine and Spirit Exporters Federation is compiling a dossier which indicates that producers are already feeling the effects of both cancelled and suspended orders. In Australia, New Zealand and the developing markets of South-east Asia, French wines have become the pariahs of the Pacific.

Although the evidence is still largely anecdotal, if the picturesque villages of Roadwater and Luxborough in the Brendon Hills of west Somerset are anything to go by, the French producers are right to feel worried. Two local CND activists, Harry Horobin, aged 82, and Eva Poventud, 63, have succeeded in signing up all but two of the villagers so far petitioned to pledge not to buy any French wines during the Mururoa tests.

If the Luxborough effect were to ripple throughout the country, the effect would be devastating. The UK is France's most valued export market. With imports of French wines equal to more than 3,000 million bottles and worth Fr4bn (pounds 533m), the UK consumes one-fifth of all French wine exports. Only Germany matches our traditional penchant for claret and vin de pays.

Luxborough and Roadwater notwithstanding, however, the wine trade in this country is reporting business to be very much as usual.

"Apart from one 'disgusted' letter," says Allan Cheesman, head of Sainsbury's drinks department, "there has been no discernible customer reaction or impact on sales.

"It's not our policy to dictate what customers will or will not buy. They have the choice. All our products are clearly labelled French."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

2nd Line Application Support Analyst

£35000 - £45000 per annum + benefits: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: This is a...

Installation Manager

£35000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitment Company...

Sales Engineer - Cowes - £30K-£40K

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Sales Engineer - Cow...

Tax Investigations Manager/Senior Manager

£60000 - £70000 per annum + Benefits: Cameron Kennedy Recruitment: This rapidl...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice