Facing increasing competition from New World wines, French wine-makers have been struggling to survive as their share of world sales has plummeted.
Following crisis talks between vintners and the agriculture minister, HervÃ© Gaymard, yesterday, the French government announced a raft of new measures to help rescue the nation’s beleaguered wine industry.
The government also said it would double funds to promote French wine abroad and would permit new forms of wine-making technology used in wine production elsewhere but banned in France, such as the use of wood chips to add flavour.
Mr Gaymard said allowing table wines now labelled “vins de pays” or “vins de table” to be marketed by the grape variety or by brand name would respond to the demands of consumers on those international markets where competition was fiercest.
Better-quality wines would continue to use the AOC (appellation d’origine contrÃ´lÃ©e) labelling system, a guarantee that the wine has come from a specific geographical location.
“This is the cornerstone of a new structure for French wine,” Mr Gaymard said.
The talks come two days after the agriculture ministry forecast that France will produce a record harvest this year of 5.66 billion litres (1.5 billion gallons) of wine.0