France’s Union of Oenologists has demanded those working in the wine sector be placed on the priority list for the coronavirus vaccine as long-Covid symptoms hamper professionals. France 24 spoke to Didier Fages, the President of France Union of Oenologists and Sophie Pallas.
Ms Pallas, who is also an Oenologist, said: “I think I still have some work to do to get back to that speed of perception.”
French 24’s Marios Sofos stated: “Pallas’s story highlights the threat posed to France’s multi-billion euro wine industry by the virus whether it is to wine experts, producers or sellers.
“It of course poses a risk for chefs and perfumers as well among other professions that rely on fine-tuned taste or smell.”
Mr Fages said: “It is like a musician losing their instrument.
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“One of the measures we are asking for is priority vaccines.
“We wrote to the Prime Minister and President Macron to be considered for the priority list.”
Earlier this year, President Macron was told by French exporters that the nation’s wine sector is under threat following Brexit.
Jérôme Pont, CEO of Calais Vins, stated that the French wine sector was in a period of “emptiness” following Brexit and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Asked if Brexit had been a “hard blow” to his business, Mr Pont told Public Senat: “This is certain because in fact the British clientele represented around 25 percent of our turnover.
“It was just a crossing for a day, they came to refuel for three, four months, six months for a wedding, a christening, a communion, for a family event.
“It will be over because in fact, a christening, a communion is ok with 24 bottles but a marriage is not 24 bottles.
“So all that part of our turnover, we think we’ve lost it.
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“Now that can be regained with a greater frequency of visits but that is really a hypothesis and we do not… we can’t know because we are also in the middle of a period of emptiness, in full period of health crisis and, Brexit or no Brexit, we have not seen an Englishman since the first instance of the health crisis.”
Emmanuel Agius, City of Calais deputy projects delegate, also warned of the consequences Brexit is having on trade.
He said: “
We would like to have a special policy, that is to say, to create a duty-free zone throughout the city of Calais.
“Or rather a tax-free zone which would therefore allow tourists, English since we are neighbours, to come to Calais, make purchases and then be able to have the products purchased in Calais tax-free, mainly so as to be able to regain an economic boost such as we finally got to know a few years ago.”