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French wine brand hopes to compete with New World

A new French national wine label – Vins de Pays Vignobles de France - is finding its way onto shop shelves.

This is a huge move for the country that is the stalwart for terroir and regionality as this new category is a ‘French’ multi-regional blend. Wines sold under this label are mid-range vins de pays blended from any of 64 different geographical areas of France, so a bit similar to the Australian S E Australia label. Certainly, the French are hoping it is going to be their answer to competing with the New World.

Michel Servage, president of the Vins de Pays Vignobles de France Committee, explained that, ‘French viticulture has always been based upon wines of specific terroirs.’ But he added that, ‘With globalisation, branded wines have become increasingly important and France has had no means with which to respond. The new Vins de Pays Vignobles de France denomination now means we can meet the needs of the international market.’

‘Blended wines to suit every consumer’s tastes’ is how the French are selling it, because, as Bruno Kessler, director of the big French brand JP Chenet, explains, the new category means that, ‘Each producer will be able to make wines specifically to suit the tastes of each individual country.’

There are rules, of course. Wines have to qualify for vins de pays, use only approved grape varieties and blends can only be made of up to three varieties. And it’s not just different regions that the grapes can come from, fruit for these new national wines can come from different years too.