Cognac vineyards to expand

Cognac sales have been rising for four years, thanks to exports. Plans were approved this week to expand its vineyard areas by almost 3,500 ha next year, in addition to the present 75,000 ha in the appellation.

The Conseil de Bassin Viticole Charentes-Cognac, one of the cognac bodies, approved on Thursday a request for an additional 3,474 hectares of land to be dedicated to cognac.

Every year, the vineyards of France have a national potential to expand by 1% of their total surface area, or about 8,000 ha out of the country’s more than 800,000 ha, said Patrick Raguenaud, president of the National Interprofessional Bureau of Cognac (BNIC), to French press agency AFP.

“Last year, cognac requested and obtained 1,500 hectares,” he added, stressing that it remained “very reasonable and very prudent,” and that the appellation had “good prospects” to justify these new plantations.

With planting, growing time and aging in barrels, “it takes six to seven years for the first bottles,” noted Mr. Raguenaud.

Sales of cognac

In the 2017-18 season (August to July), cognac sales grew for the fourth consecutive year, up 8.2% in volume and 5.4% in value over the previous year. Exports accounted for 98% of sales, still driven by the North American market, with Asia the fastest-growing region.

A record high of 205.9 million bottles were shipped during the campaign, for a turnover of 3.2 billion euros, according to the BNIC.