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Courvoisier : "fears the worst"
30 mars 1999
The outlook is bleak for the Courvoisier trading house whose CEO Philippe Treutenaere considers that the worst is still to come. Whereas in 1998 the Jarnac-based company saw its exports fall by 3 %, instructions to wine growers are now as follows : a drop in the purchase price for eaux-de-vie after the next harvest if the market and competition make this necessary, reduced production costs (-10 % over 5 years) ; and diversification of production.

Hennessy : new cognacs successful
23 mars 1999
15,000 cases of new cognacs (Kenzo, Picasso, Pure White) launched by Hennessy were sold last year. Hennessy hopes to increase this figure fivefold this year and is counting on its new products to consolidate an upturn in profits in the cognac sector, which have risen by 2 % despite a 13 % drop in sales and an improvement in the USA which partially offsets the decline in Japan. 1999 remains the year when the Hennessy 2001 plan is launched which will lead to the disappearance of 159 jobs out of 764.

Martell in Poland
23 mars 1999
In order to develop the Polish market, Martell has chosen two cultural enterprises, one concerning paintings (the purchase and donation of paintings to museums), the other culinary (a competition for trainee cooks).

Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s give Remy-Cointreau improved rating
17 mars 1999
The Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s rating agencies have continued to recognize the efforts made by Rémy-Cointreau by raising their ratings from B+ to BB- and from B2 to B1 as a result of its debt restructuring via a loan of 549 billion euros.

Hennessy’s "Pure White" challenged
17 mars 1999
Hennessy’s "Pure White" cognac, a product midway between VS and VSOP and described as one of the firm’s key products, is being challenged because of its name which may be seen in some countries (Germany and the US) as having racist connotations and, in any case, deceptive as the product is not white. According to some sources the import of "Pure White" into the US has been forbidden. This has been denied by Hennessy which claims that it has not even been presented there.

Cognac auction
17 mars 1999
Only half of the 6,500 bottles of cognac resulting from the liquidation of the Cosson group (Guimps) found buyers (200F for a carafe of XO and 70F for VSOP) at an auction in Angoulême on Tuesday.

Duty Free : it’s over
17 mars 1999
In Brussels on Tuesday the Ecofin Council did not retain the German proposal to postpone the abolition of duty free sales. The final opportunity - improbable - to raise the issue would be the next Ecofin meeting in mid April.

Cognac viticulture research station
17 mars 1999
The Cognac viticulture research station, which was accredited by the Cofrac for another five years last July, presented the report of its activities last Tuesday in front of 300 people at La Salamandre in Cognac. They are in three directions : viticulture, oenology and moves to defend and increase awareness of pineau and cognac. In the viticultural field, the subjects of bacterial canker and flavescence were raised as well as a new variety of vine, called Folignan, which is a cross between ugni blanc and folle blanche and produces excellent eau de vie. At present this variety has had approval since September 1997 for the production of table wines but should soon receive approval for cognac.

Duty : legal victory for pineau
10 mars 1999
Pineau has just won an important victory in its conflict with the government over duty. The Supreme Court of Appeal has just dismissed an appeal by the ministry of Finance against a judgement by the High Court in La Rochelle on 6 June 1996 which found in favor of producers, declaring that French legislation cannot treat differently comparable products such as pineau and natural sweet wines (fortified wines) which are taxed four times less. But it will take at least another 5 or 6 years for comparable duties in the event of a favorable outcome. Moreover, other court cases are being heard in Angoulême and in the Gers (for "floc de Gascogne"). As a result of this ruling, the president and the director of the committee for pineau consider that "the fight goes on" and are going to ask the ministry of Agriculture to recognize "vins de liqueur d’appellation contrôlée" (guaranteed label of origin for liqueur wines). In terms of advertising, pineau is to concentrate its efforts in known successful markets, and France in particular.

Cognac : sales down again
2 mars 1999
The latest figures concerning cognac sales which have just been published show a fall of 4.5 % to 134.6 million bottles sold worldwide. Turnover has fallen to 8.7 billion compared to 10 billion in 1997, which means that cognac is now falling far behind the two other great names in French wine growing : Bordeaux and Champagne. Industry insiders have detected some reasons to hope for an upturn, notably as a result of the turnaround of the French market and the strength of the American market (+13 %).

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