Sarkozy given plans for a reformation

France has outlined plans to reform its wine industry in a paper handed to president Nicolas Sarkozy this week.

The changes aim to streamline the country's complicated system and make French wine better able to compete in the global marketplace.

Among the plans, the 25 regional interprofessional bodies that oversee wine production outside the appellation d'origine contrôlée system are to be encouraged to regroup as 10 larger regional organisations, in a bid to use their funding more efficiently and avoid unnecessary competition.

The bodies would be represented at a national level within food and wine trade body Viniflhor.

Vins de Table will also have the right to carry grape variety and vintage on their labels, pushing Vins de Pays into a much more regionally representative position and throwing into question the future of the Vin de Pays Vignobles de France category.

Winemaking is to be liberalised to allow practices such as oak chips and de-alcoholisation, while producers will be encouraged to seek more education and share information.

Viniflhor director Georges-Pierre Malpel told OLN : "The aim is to allow the French wine sector to keep its traditions but not be limited by them - to give ourselves the means in terms of organisations and winemaking and viticulture practices to be more independent and to do what Europe is requesting and what is requested by the market," he said.