On its 45 hectares, it produces white wine, red and Armagnac. It is thanks to this eau-de-vie that he adjusts his balance sheets, at the cost of more hours of work, but “knowing exactly” where he is going. In the current insurance system, which will evolve in 2023, nothing suits him: the public calamity scheme excludes viticulture and he considers that the insurance scheme, although subsidized, does not take into account the real value of the vineyard. Another reason for dissatisfaction: the amount of the deductible, this share of losses remaining the responsibility of the farmer, “increased from 10 to 20%”, he specifies.
Calculation over five years
Its annual turnover is around 350,000 euros: “We make 55,000 bottles, including 2,500 of Armagnac, for sales estimated at 400,000 euros. “Even having lost “half” of his harvest this year, he does not regret his choice. “I will adjust by making more Armagnac. Already after the 2021 freeze, we released fifteen additional references on the market – admittedly, working up to 50 hours a week”, and “we found ourselves there”, he relates.
It challenges the benchmarks of insurers and the law, which now sets the calculation of performance taking into account the last five years. This so-called “Olympic average” calculation is indeed at the center of the problem for Vincent Piquemal, president of the independent winegrowers of Occitanie, who himself has chosen to insure himself.
His 40-hectare vineyard was “in the heart of the cloud” of hail. “We lost everything,” says the operator of Castelnau-d’Auzan. “I am insured, but uninsured, because of the method of calculating yield,” he explains. The “Olympic average” takes the returns from the past five years, subtracts the best and worst year and establishes an average.
“I had the 2021 freeze, with 85% losses, frost in 2020, with 83% losses, a decent year in 2019, frost with 60% losses in 2018 and a good year in 2017, with 100 hectoliters per hectare. As a result, my return will essentially be calculated on bad years,” he explains.