Romaric Chavy of the Meursault-based producer Chavy-Chouet, says that the situation in France and Burgundy is tense right now, but that the work in the vineyards continues.
”We do have the right to work in the fields if we follow the rules, one car for each person, also stay few meters away from each other,” he says.
How is the situation affecting your sales? And now that many restaurants are closed, do people buy in stores or online and drink at home instead?
”We work 90% export, so we don’t really feel the restaurant business directly. My distributors seem to live from online sales - door delivered - at the moment, and we still ship pallets to our partners abroad. Restaurants are all closed in France, lately the most activity came from the ski resorts which also closed. We wait to see if the spring opening of Côte d’Azur will be possible...”
After six months of rain, the sun finally came back but all the joy of seeing it vanished because of the virus
What measures have you taken to secure the business for the future?
” It’s still early to say, but we will help the partners that encounter difficulties to pay us later because we have some partners who have followed us since the 1980s. That’s what we did in 2008, and that helped some of them save their companies.”
What is the general feeling among winemakers in your area right now? What do your friends and colleagues think about the situation?
”People are sad and scared like everywhere, I guess. After six months of rain, the sun finally came back but all the joy of seeing it vanished because of the virus. Otherwise, they all have really accepted the necessary rules, because we cannot afford to not go in the fields at this season, because spring and bud break has - once again - started early and there is lots of work to do from now on. And, if a virus wasn’t enough, we also begin to fear risks of frost between now to mid-May.”
What long term effects do you think this crisis will have, both for you personally and for the wine scene in your country in general?
”Time will tell... We haven’t seen any effect yet, as we are in the middle of the virus crisis. I think everything will be good when we are done with it, cause we will all be very thirsty of wine and life. I’m assuming that it will be much harder for some less famous regions, of course.”
What do you miss most right now?
” Peace of mind.”