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Expert's Opinion : Are the Wines without PGI lost in transition ?

By Vitisphere February 02, 2010
Expert's Opinion : Are the Wines without PGI lost in transition ?

esigned to compete with New World wines on the international market, French wines without PGI (VSIG)with reference to variety experience a very timid start of their campaign. Economics are not the only issue: operators are cautious with regard to the new name, not to cannibalize their range and pending clarification of regulations.

Ensure overall consistency of the range:
Many traders are still wondering about the opportunities on this new market segment. "We've already switched all our table wines to VSIG", says Franck Crouzet from Castel. "But for our varietal wines that are currently sold with an indication of origin, yet we do nothing change. We are waiting to see how will position our customers. From the moment we already offer VSIG and varietal wines in PGI, it is not necessarily appropriate to undertake varietal VSIG that could cannibalize sales of our products already established."
UCCOAR , on the other hand, firmly positioned in this market. It was the first since October 21, 2009, to put on the market two VSIG primeur wines in France Gamay and Syrah grapes from Lidl (€ 1.69 per bottle). "This operation went well," said Nicolas Sinoquet, CEO of UCCOAR, but it is unclear whether the trigger was VSIG or primeur wines".
The group Aude account in this space to develop strong brands abroad. "On some export markets, the couple grape / country is likely: the Chilean cabernet, the Argentine malbec, the New Zealand sauvignon. This is the niche where we want to position ourselves with our varietal VSIG."

Despite uncertainties, all brands which developed under the previous name of Vin de Pays des Vignobles de France appear to be in the starting blocks for VSIG: Chamarré, Piat d'Or, French Connection ... "Our first VSIG with mention of the grape will be bottled in early February, those will be whites and rosés", says Nicolas Gorjux, marketing director Chamarré. "All our market research shows that on the international market, French wines suffer from the complexity of their labels. The name of France, the reference to a grape is a way to simplify our image and offer in order to better compete with the New World. Eventually, all our wine grapes (2.8 million bottles in 2008) are expected to switch to varietal VSIG."

A regulatory context to clarify:
But it is the export regulatory issues that weigh on the VSIG : U.S. authorities, who had initially winced at the mention of the variety, do not accept the mention of the vintage because in their rules, the vintage can be shown for wines with a geographical indication of origin smaller than a country. This is a serious handicap, as the U.S. markets are among the most specific profiles for this category of wines where the brand and the grape variety outstrip the concept of origin. Negotiations are ongoing between Europe and the United States to resolve the dispute.

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