A new French lobby group is pushing to change the way wines from France’s wine appellations are officially approved.

The group believes the ethos of the French appellation authority (INAO) has been ‘swept aside by industrial interests.’

‘It is evident that the original vision of INAO has been swept aside by industrial interests leading to a standardisation of taste,’ says the manifesto of Sève, les amis de Joseph Capus, an association of some 180 winemakers from all over France formed in March this year.

Joseph Capus was the French senator who founded the AOC system in France in 1935.

Group representatives told the French Agricultural Ministry it should hold independent vineyard approvals and winemaking methods rather than blind tastings – which are made up of producers tasting their own wines.

Sève member Francois des Ligneris of Chateau Soutard in Saint Emilion told decanter.com new quality criteria should include density of vines, types of yeast used, and whether methods such as cryo-extraction or reverse osmosis are used or if acid, bacteria, chemicals or pesticides are added.

‘The system was a very good idea from the start, but naturally human beings with their egos and thirst for power and money exploited this text to serve their own personal and commercial interests,’ Ligneris said.

Sève members include Leonard Humbrecht of Domaine Zind-Humbrecht in Alsace, Patrick Baudouin in the Loire Valley, the Manoncourt family of Chateau Figeac in Saint Emilion and Anne-Claude Leflaive from Burgundy.

A press conference is on the cards for Paris next year, although a date has not been set.

Written by Panos Kakaviatos