As it turns out, the French government ever-so-quietly last month passed guidelines that radically change the wine labelling system in France – they are allowing wine growers to label bottles with the GRAPE so that people can actually understand what their buying. Currently some French supermarkets can have up to 600 different bottles of French wines on the shelves!
This comes amid growing concern over competition and over-production. This system, however, won’t be present until 2006! So we’ll all have to wait and continue to shy away from French wines because its much easier to just go to New World wines, as I wrote previously.
It seems as if the French might actually help themselves out here. With French wine less intimidating on the label it may be more approachable to normal folks. With an over-supply you would expect the price to come down a bit from the astronomical levels they are at. Those two factors could help them stabalize their marketshare. But waiting unti 2006? Inevitably the French wine producers won’t cut-over right away to the new system because of egos…excuse me, because of history, so 2006 probably means we won’t see any real change until 2009 or 2010. That could be too late. With the rate of growth of the wine industry worldwide and the increase in premium wine available, French producers could be in serious trouble by then.
The stalwarts of wine culture, Burgundy and Bordeaux, will certainly take the longest to cut over believing there is no need to – my prediction is they’ll get squeezed into it though. What would you order, bottle of nice French Chardonnay or Chablis Les Clos Grand Cru…