France Eases Wine Laws to Cork Competition

Old rules to go as France tries to catch up with New World wines
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 30, 2008 11:53 AM CDT
France Eases Wine Laws to Cork Competition
Grape pickers collect grapes at the Louis La Tour domain in Aloix Cordon, near Beaune, Burgundy, in this Sept. 26, 2006 file photo.    (AP Photo/Patrick Gardin, File)

France is ditching some long-cherished wine rules to compete with upstart New World wines, the London Times reports. The country, which sees itself as the center of the wine world, has been steadily losing market share to wines from places like Australia and California. A new class of French wine will permit "foreign" techniques such as adding tannins or wood chips.

The new system, which defines some wines by grape variety rather than place of origin, is likely to make purists turn up their noses, but most French don't object to the relaxed rules. “I have faith in the savoir faire of French winemakers,” said the chief sommelier at the Paris Ritz. “We will not fall as low as the Americans, who make vin rosé that is sugary and fizzy like soda.” (More wine stories.)

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