Rebellious wine producers in Chablis, who have been threatening to break away from the rest of Burgundy, were silenced this week, as a majority of the region's growers voted to remain part of the Burgundy Wine Board (BIVB).
During a ballot on Wednesday evening, 272 of the 327 voters opted to remain within the BIVB and 47 voted to leave. Eight others abstained.
“I am satisfied that the majority of producers in Chablis have chosen to remain part of the BIVB,” said Frédéric Gueguen, co-president of the Chablis appellation.
In July last year, the Chablis area threatened to leave the BIVB, declaring it was “poorly represented” within the regional body and wanted “more financial autonomy.”
In response to the threat, the BIVB agreed to "return 50 percent of its annual contributions" to the region. The board has also provided other concessions to Chablis, including two seats on the organization's permanent committee.
Chablis producers' contributions represent 27 percent, or €9 million ($11.3 million), of the BIVB budget, according to Gueguen. “Yet, we aren't part of the region's global marketing campaign, which is centered on Beaune and the Côte d'Or,” he explained.
However, some producers in Burgundy privately admit that the Chablis region has become “too demanding” and accuse its producers of “gesticulation” – or overstating the issue.
The chardonnay-dominant region has 700 producers, who make 40 million bottles of wine each year from 5,200 hectares of vines.