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French minister slams plans to liberalise grape planting rules

Published:  20 June, 2011

European Union plans to liberalise grape planting regulations were slammed by the French Agriculture Minister.

Bruno le Maire said the proposals, which will allow countries to increase grape production, would undermine quality.

Unrestricted production would go against the goal of maintaining the individual character of regional wines and would undermine prices, he said.

"I am against this liberalisation. It will not help European and French wine growers to achieve their aims of competing on a world scale with wines of the highest quality."

He called for a "proper grape planting policy" for Europe.

He said he was seeking support from other European countries against the proposal, and has already received agreement from Italy, Spain, Germany and Hungary.

He also criticised proposals to merge AOC and IGP wine classifications.

Le Maire was speaking at the opening of Vinexpo in Bordeaux yesterday.