September 16, 2012
French winemakers concerned over 'chateau' change
In France, wine labelled "chateau" is associated with a product entirely made from grapes grown on a "terroir" – a specific patch of land- giving it a unique identity and flavour.
But a new proposal by the European Commission, to be addressed later this month, would allow American wines made with a mixture of grapes purchased from different growers, to use the title as well.
A committee of representatives from the Bordeaux region were among the first to denounce the initiative, which they claim would confuse French consumers, and ruin the tradition of chateau wine production.
Representatives, who base much of their sales on the use of coveted chateau titles in their region, are to meet on Monday in an attempt to push the French government to veto the initiative.
"There is a great danger that the notion of the chateau will disappear in France ... the consumer is going to feel lost," said Laurent Gapenne, president of an organisation that guarantees wine labels represent their geographic origin and quality in the Gironde region, which includes Bordeaux.