Monday, June 02, 2008

The French try to take on New World Wines

As reported by Wine & Spirits Daily
n e w s , n u m b e r s , c o m m e n t a r y , f o r e c a s t si n t e r v i e w s , b e s t p r a c t i c e s , s t r a t e g y , m o t i v e

France Takes New World Approach

June 2, 2008

President Nicolas Sarkozy and the French cabinet approved a five-year plan to modernize its wine industry by simplifying marketing, production and labeling techniques. The proposal was written by the country's Agriculture Ministry as a way to gain back international market share from other wine producing countries, most notably the New World. The measure has been drawn up over the past two years.

"French wine is complicated and often little understood," the Agriculture Ministry said.

The most controversial initiative, perhaps, is a proposal to create three categories for French wines. A new mid-quality category, called the "Wines of France," will most closely mirror New World wines by including the grape varietal on the label (instead of grape origin) and using cheaper production practices, such as adding wood chips and tannins.

In another example, certain wines traditionally produced in one area (such as gewurtztramminer) can now be produced anywhere in France and sold under the new Wine of France category.

In addition to the Wine of France, the second category will be directed to a specific area and the third will cover the AOC appellation, of which there are 457.

The proposal is to be signed in August 2009. The French wine industry is cautiously optimistic, although some are disappointed that the proposal doesn't address whether it is legal to sell and promote wine on the internet.

"It's a way of giving new consumers a taste for wine," said Jean Claude Ruet, chief sommelier at the Paris Ritz hotel. However, "we will not fall as low as the Americans, who make vin rosé that is sugary and fizzy like soda," he continued.

In terms of volume, French exports have fallen behind many New World and Old World countries, but remain at the top in terms of value

1 comment:

Gerald said...

This sounds like a fantastic event to attend and it' a shame i'm missing out on it! I absolutely love wine, the only problem I have is matching the food to it!

I tend to buy my wines online from a reputable merchant called Majestic Wines who offer a great range of wines, and like many I rate them very highly. Maybe a food guide would be a great advantage to!