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Even the simplest French wines can now mention the grape variety, except some

How provincial protectionism makes it more difficult to sell French wines

Vin de France, that is the new name for “vin de table” (wine without a specific appellation, AOP, or IGP), can now have the grape name mentioned on the label. Except for some varieties.

It used to be that Vin de Table (now Vin de France) was not allowed any type of specification on the label, not even the grape(s) that went into making it. With the new 2012 wine law that introduced, among many things, the name Vin de France mentioning the grape name is allowed.

Rue du riesling

Rue du riesling, copyright BKWine Photography

This is a great step forward in the French regulations. Many consumers buy wines according to grape variety. Denying French producers the possibility to mention the grape variety on the label was a great way to alienate consumers and to make life more difficult for wine producers. Fortunately this is now changed. At least partially…

There are however some grape varieties that wine producers are not allowed to mention on the label of a Vin de France wine.

It is forbidden to mention these grape varieties:

  • aligoté,
  • altesse,
  • clairette,
  • gewurztraminer,
  • gringet,
  • jacquère,
  • mondeuse,
  • persan,
  • poulsard,
  • riesling,
  • savagnin,
  • sylvaner
  • trousseau

You may with reason ask “why can’t you mention riesling or aligoté on a label?” Well, the main reason for this is that the producers’ associations in the regions where these grape varieties are traditionally grown have successfully lobbied the legislators to ban these grapes from the labels, even if the wines are made from them. The wine producers in these regions, Alsace, Jura, Savoie (and possibly some other), want to have the monopoly to the right to mention these grapes on the label.

Again a sad case of French provincial protectionism that will not benefit consumers and that will only make it more difficult for French wines on the international markets.

The good thing is of course that many other Vin de France wines will benefit from the mention of grape names on the labels. As will the consumers who will be better informed.

(Thanks to Hervé Lalau for the background details to this anti-consumer friendly case. Read more on why this is a bad idea on Hervé’s blog.)

Gewurztraminer vendange tardive

Gewurztraminer vendange tardive, copyright BKWine Photography

This post is also available in: Swedish

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