Uprooting of vines in Aude: “Working all your life to decapitalize is heartbreaking”

The actors of agricultural and wine policies in Aude speak out on the burning subject of the uprooting of vines made obligatory by the crises which are shaking the territory between drop in consumption, climatic hazards, loss of vocation and inflation. Case.

How many hectares of vines could be affected in Aude by grubbing up? We are talking about 6,000 hectares in the neighboring department of Pyrénées-Orientales, aiming for plots with low yields, but here?

The grubbing up should focus on this type of low-yielding, non-irrigated plots. If we count on 100,000 hectares in France, Languedoc Roussillon could be affected by half of this area.

The winegrowers are at the bottom of the bucket

Before even talking about surface area, Philippe Vergnes, president of the Aude Chamber of Agriculture, attacks the price:“4,000 euros to get out is insufficient, someone who has worked all his life to decapitalize is going to leave a field behind, it’s heartbreaking. But leaving with nothing is indecent. Because at this price – there, we are not far from the cost of the work: tearing up, removing the stakes, using the rotary cutter… People have had enough. The operators are at the bottom of the bucket.

Interested winegrowers are asked to indicate the surface area concerned by grubbing aid.

Not enough young people to take over

Ludovic Roux, president of the Occitanie winegrowers, is counting on a large surface area. Coop de France has launched its own internal investigation to anticipate torn surfaces.“We are experiencing a significant drop in the market. The wineries concerned are those who cannot release their wines, those who are at the end of their career. Some could continue but are fed up with filling out tons of paper, they don’t have no more enthusiasm and want to stop. There are not enough young farmers to start again, they are at the end of their rope: psychologically, things are no longer working. We need a farmer whose farm size would be sufficiently profitable. to recover the land for meadows and livestock or the cultivation of alfalfa Because if it is to transform the landscape into wasteland…”.

Ludovic Roux cannot hide the damage caused by inflation : “we are right in the middle of sociological problems. We are at the limit of bearable!”

What to do after the vine?

Find buyers

In Ornaisons, at the cooperative cellar Les Celliers d’Orfée, the forecast is around 5%. Out of 1,260 hectares in production, 60 hectares would be affected. “it’s minor for us, it’s mainly people who are retiring describes director Cédric Bruel. In 2022, we distilled 6,300 hectoliters. Our members are resilient, they endure the onslaught of climate change with resignation. The problem is above all finding buyers.”

Uprooting, a heartbreak for the operator.
Uprooting, a heartbreak for the operator.

Invest to prevent

“What we need is to be able to protect ourselves against climatic hazards!” insists Jean-Marie Fabre, national president of independent winegrowers, who emphasizes a change in way of thinking. The hail in Limouxin and Val de Dagne shows, once again, the importance of awareness: “We must protect our crops against climatic hazards! We can no longer cope! We must invest now to sustainably preserve the wine industry. This investment will generate employment, tax revenue, if not more and more winegrowers will abandon the profession. It is a short-term expense for a long-term investment. Protecting us means maintaining us. In France, we represent 12 billion in taxes, 500,000 direct and indirect jobs and 96 billion. € of turnover”.

What are the scenarios?

The farmers affected by grubbing up belong to different categories: there are those whose economic model is no longer viable, weakened by drought for several years. They no longer have the capacity to shoulder the costs. They are the most fragile.

Another category to look for among independent winegrowers: those who market a part themselves and entrust the remainder to a commercial operator. Today, they are no longer profitable and wish to recalibrate their operations to the volumes they are able to sell.

And then all those who are at the end of the race, the age pyramid posing a problem, they have no buyer in the current economic context. They can neither pass on their know-how, nor the fruit of a lifetime’s work.



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