Languedoc Looking For R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Consumers taste Languedoc wines. Courtesy CIVL
Languedoc, the region in the South of France that is not Provence, is having its Rodney Dangerfield moment. It’s afraid that it is getting no respect.

This feeling comes even as its exports to the United States have nearly tripled in value to €28.5 million ($31 million) in 2016, up from €9.5 million ($10.3 million) in 2010.

Domestically, sales of its AOC du Languedoc wines have seen their value rise 27 percent over the past four years to €36.5 million, with the average price per bottle rising to €4.16 in 2016 from €3.41. Sales of Crémant de Limoux have bubbled up as well. Nearly 5 million bottles are now being sent to market. And they produce and sell more rosé than their neighbor, Provence.

In a 2017 survey conducted by Wine Trade Monitor for Sopexa, an international communications and marketing agency, industry participants from around the world were asked, “What are the European designated regions that you think will see the most growth over the next 24 months?”

Respondents put Languedoc first, followed by Rioja and Côtes du Rhone.

Ascending Growth Charts, Restaurant Lists

The survey, which is done every two years, had Languedoc in 10th place in 2011. “And we were not on the charts 10 years ago,” says Christine Molines, director of marketing for Les AOC du Languedoc.

They don’t just want to be known for their wines that represent good value plays–wines that consumers can buy for less than $15 a bottle. Just as in the United States, where sales of wines at less than $6 a bottle are decreasing, so, too, in France are sales of wines under €3 slowing, Molines says.Languedoc tasting. Courtesy of CIVL.

“Our problem is to get the consumer at over $50 [a bottle]. When someone has decided to spend $50 or $60 they will certainly go for Châteauneuf-du-Pape and they forget that Languedoc is producing very high-quality wines as well.”

To get the word out, the group is courting sommeliers–especially at the high-end restaurants. It seems to be working. Cosme, the Manhattan Mexican restaurant at which the Obamas dined last fall, has three wines from the Languedoc on its list.

“But we won’t be happy until Languedoc wines are available on every shelf, in every shop,” Molines grins.

Published on May 4, 2017
Topics: Wine News