Producers get behind Vin de France
More than 700 French wine producers are now supporting the Vin de France promotional classification scheme, which came to operation in 2010.
Vin de France, which is run by trade body Anivin de France, allows producers to promote their wines using the grape variety or varieties on the label and not just the region or appellation.
It was introduced following the relaxing of the labelling regulations by the European Union in 2009 and means wines can be marketed in a similar way to New World wines.
“I never imagined it would grow so fast,” said Valérie Pajotin, director general of Anivin de France. “I never even dreamt that they would see the Vin de France brand as the way forward in the way that they have.”
Vin de France wines have already beaten the 1 million hl target with 1.24 million hl sold in the past year.
Pajotin said the Vin de France initiative had been particularly well received in the UK. “It was like they said the French have finally woken up to ways to make it easier to understand the category.”
The fact producers can now use grapes from different regions, similar to how New World producers operate, has been “essential” in getting so many producers behind the scheme, added Pajotin.
It has been particularly popular among the large French companies heavily involved in worldwide exports, she added.
But Pajotin stressed Vin de France should always be seen as complementary to the wine’s appellation or region. “It is a case of working very closely together,” she added.
Germany has become the biggest importer of Vin de France wines, followed by the UK, then the Netherlands. Pajotin also has high hopes for exports to the US in 2013, where the message from tastings there is that “it is French, but it is fun”.
As part of the promotional campaign for 2013, 88 wines have been selected by an expert panel to help showcase Vin de France wines at all levels of quality at trade events, like last week’s ProWein, tastings and dinners around the world.
The international selection is 20% larger than last year and the wines, 30% of which have won awards, were chosen from the 56 French companies that entered.
“The category has to have those steps up the price ladder, from entry to premium level,” said Pajotin.