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Small French Wineries ask government for more insurance

A recent study by an insurance consultant in France showed that yearly vineyard income across France typically fluctuates by as much as 40% from year to year, making cash flow decisions hard to predict. Bad harvests and financial crisis across Europe have also meant that independent wineries are feeling their instability. So they are looking to the French government to underwrite an insurance scheme to protect them from the effects of bad harvests or currency fluctuations.

Obviously this wouldn't be economical if applied to some of the bigger French estates such as Bordeuax but it does make sense for those small estates who find it difficult to cope with such widely fluctuating revenues. According to Ministry of Agriculture figures, average yearly revenues (after basic running costs but before owners pay themselves a wage) range from an average of €11,000 in the Languedoc to €25,000 in the Loire and Aquitaine, €40-60,000 in Alsace and Burgundy, and €125,000 in Champagne.

It may be that the first step will be to introduce a mutual fund contributed to by smaller winemakers and the European Commission, but a full insurance scheme is the long-term goal.