In a country where consumption of table wine is decreasing, you would think the government run wine industry (for all intents & purposes) would figure it out. There is a huge export market for reasonably priced, quality wines. Why shouldn’t the moderately priced producers in Bordeaux be allowed to use the Bordeaux name and relax the regs?
French Wine Laws Need to be Revised
As a consumer, I resent Bordeaux as a wine region. If I want to explore the very best of Napa, I can afford it on a splurge. The very best in Bordeaux is priced very close to insanity. It has created a backlash with many consumers. A perception of the damn cultural elite, dictating accessibility, creating an image that does not appeal to the average wine drinker. It doesn’t need to be like this. Bordeaux is at a cross-roads. The majority of wine production in Bordeaux is actually more reasonably priced, but I rarely buy affordable Bordeaux. With declining consumption in France, what will happen to the wine classifications Vin de Table, and Vin de Pays? The answer should be: allow a product geared for the export market to be developed. Very similar to what Italy has done with the “IGT” designation.
French Wine Laws That Make Sense
I will now introduce sacrilege to the discussion… beyond the 1st-5th Growth wineries, the rest should buck the system and start a co-op outside of the AOC system and pool marketing dollars to enter new export markets. Relax the production requirements to allow more accessible, new-world styles. Permit label changes to make them more understandable for the typical New World consumer. Spend money advertising to introduce these new wines to the world… AND allow them to use the “Bordeaux” name.
Why would this be so crazy? If I had the cash to invest, I would learn French and reach out myself to get these winemakers to leave the system and step out on their own. A group of value priced Bordeaux producers banding together and pursuing export markets outside of the limitations of the AOC system? Wouldn’t that ruffle a few feathers?
2 responses to “Should the French AOC System be Changed?”
Your argument is basically the idea why Piero Antinori defied the rigid Italian DOC regulations. Look where it got him and his ilk: they created Super Tuscan, which single-handedly revived the Italian wine industry, which was failing during the 1970s.
Exactly! What is so exciting about the evolution of the IGT designation is the expansion! I was recently in the Valpolicella region tasting wines and they were experimenting with assemblage, blending appassimento and traditional fruit styles – under the IGT designation. It was so interesting! We are past the days of controls managing quality. The recent improvements in winemaking technology have gone further to ensure consistent quality than any laws could. Creativity and entrepeneurial spirit will build a superior product preferred by demand in the marketplace. Free Bordeaux! 🙂