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Sunday, May 29, 2005
  I just can't quite find it in me to 'feel their pain'
Finance24 : French wine exports drowning: "Paris - French wine exports sank again in the first quarter of 2005 confirming a downward spiral which has plunged the sector into crisis and brought thousands of wine-growers out onto the streets in protest.

'Global over-production in 2004, which is put at between 10 to 20 million hectolitres, is pulling prices down and adding to the problems of French wines which are being asked to become simpler in taste to meet growing world consumption,' said Louis-Regis Affre, an official from the French Federation of Exporters of Wines and Spirits (FEVS).

Apart from champagnes and sparkling wines, exports of French wine dropped some 13.0% in value and 13.2% in volume in the first quarter of this year compared with the same period last year, FEVS said.

This adds to the misery seen in 2004, when French wine exports lost some 9.2% in value, of which some €752m ($943m) were lost in just the first quarter.

The French government recently unlocked €7m in aid in a bid to throw a lifebuoy to the country's wine producers, but for many it is merely a drop in the ocean.

'It's very little in relation to what is actually needed, and the framework to implement it isn't even in place yet,' said Affre.

On Wednesday, thousands of producers took to the streets of the southern city of Nimes in the Languedoc-Roussillon region demanding further emergency measures to save wine-growers from disaster."
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