Languedoc winemakers are fighting the 'Vins de Pays de la France' wine category through the courts – just as the decree legalising it has been published.

The group Vignerons Independent de l’Herault, based in Beziers, has logged an injunction against the new ‘Vignobles de France’ wine label, saying it is not linked to one geographic zone or terroir.

The wine will be a blend of various vins de pays from anywhere within the country. The only rule is that any wine in the blend must have its regional vins de pays certification.

Luc Cauquil, director of the syndicate, told decanter.com, ‘We have two main objections. First and most important, this wine is a contradiction of the notion of a vins de pays. The rules state it must be linked to a specific geographic area, and the Vignobles de France is not a precise geographic zone.’

The second objection is economic: 80% of the country’s vins de pays wines are currently produced in the Languedoc Roussillon, meaning that there is a direct commercial threat.

‘If the idea is to create large international brands that can compete on a global level, there’s no need to look any further than the Languedoc,’ Cauquil said. ‘The French government has spent the last few years putting a framework in place for each wine region to balance its production and sales, but instead of consolidating our position, this new wine will hurt us further,’

The argument has been presented to the European Commission, which has recently seen a similar argument unfolding in Spain, where four regions, including Rioja, have launched protests against a Vino de la Tierra de l’Espagne.

At the same time, Bordeaux has this week seen the official launch of Vins de Pays de l’Atlantique, its own vins de pays.

The two labels can sit alongside each other, a spokesman said. ‘We can serve different markets. Large negociants may go with a Vignobles de France label, but it makes sense for independent producers to remain rooted to their geographic zone.’

Written by Jane Anson in Bordeaux