France Changes Wine Labels for Export Market
In response to increased competition from the New World and declining domestic consumption, France is changing its wine labeling rules. France will now allow blends of different Vins de Pays to be labeled, Vignobles de France.
The move comes in the wake of criticisms that French wine labels are very difficult to understand, especially by the export market. Many experts believe this is one of the reasons that New World regions have been chipping away at France’s market share in recent years. Ambitious French producers will now be able to make non-traditional blends under the Vignobles de France label.
“We are trying to link together the word ‘France,’ the name of a grape and the name of a brand on which a company can invest over the long term and earn some money,” said Michel Leguay, of Viniflhor, the board that made the decision.
But not everyone is supports the change. Jacques Gravegeal, President of the Union Producers of Vin de Pays d’Oc, said, “The ‘Vignobles de France’ will have the consequence of destroying the quality revolution that has taken place over 20 years in our region.” Others argue that the new designation dilutes the concept of terroir.
France’s new designation has opened a wider debate as to whether or not the country’s wine industry should work to appeal to international tastes, or adhere to tradition.