Winemakers and champagne houses have agreed on an unprecedented agreement to limit the amount of grapes harvested this year, in the hope of stemming further damage to the crisis-ridded industry. “This system allows the two wine sellers to obtain an acceptable income and distributors to meet the demand of their customers and preserve their cash flow,” explained jean-Marie Barillére, president of the Union of Champagne Houses. While winemakers, who supplied 80% of the commercial wine supply, wanted to set yields at 8,500 kh/ha by 2020, the houses in turn demanded a maximum of 7,000 kg/ha, taking into account declining sales and the disproportionate size of stocks (more than one billion bottles). With sales down by a third, producers in the Eastern Champagne region of France, home of the world`s industry, estimated their loss at 1.7 billion euros ($2 billion) in sales in 2020. “8,000 kg is a significant drop in yields. But it is the fairest and most appropriate decision that allows winemakers to cover their production,” Maxime Toubard, president of the Winegrowers` Union, told AFP. Both men prefer to see the glass half full: “The production capacity of the vines is on average about 12,000 kg per hectare. We will really be able to choose the grapes,” said Mr. Toubard, while Barillére looks forward to the “solar vintages”. After an unsuccessful meeting last month, the Champagne Committee, which collects vineyards and the wine trade, set the marketable yield at 8,000 kg/ha, or 230 million bottles.