LVMH wine man Yves Benard confirmed today that he is expected to become the new president of France’s wine regulatory body, the INAO (Institut National des Appellations d'Origine).

Bénard, who is head of LVMH’s champagne and wine department, was introduced as the next INAO president at the Wine Evolution seminar, currently being held in Paris.

When pressed by journalists Bénard did not deny the report, saying, ‘If the minister asks me [to take the job], I will not say no.’

He did however point out that so far he is only one of several other candidates for the post.

Bénard is currently on the board of the INAO and co-president of the Champagne trade body, the CIVC.

Asked what the priorities would be for the INAO were he to be nominated, Bénard said he would put the ‘bureaucracy at the service of the producers, not as it is now with producers at the service of the bureaucracy’.

He also said producers needed to be given more autonomy.

‘You cannot do everything from Paris. We need to keep policy in Paris and give more responsibility to the wine growers,’ he said.

Bénard added that if he were president, his first move would be to go to the regions to talk to growers. He also said that the question of re-categorisation of AOC (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée) wines would have to be addressed, with the possibility of different categories having different production rules.

Bénard would replace former INAO president, René Renou, who died suddenly last year.

Written by Sophie Kevany