The red wines of Beaume de Venise have this week become the 14th AOC from the Côtes de Rhone region.

The new AOC will cover four communes from the department of Vaucluse, south of the Dentelles de Montmirail mountains (of which Beaume de Venise is one), 60ha, or 20,000 hectolitres of wine per year. All wines within the AOC must contain at least the two principal grapes of the region – at least 50% Grenache Noir and 25% Syrah.

Another AOC from the southeast of France, Baux de Provence, is planning significant changes by the end of the year.

It hopes to become a purely white wine appellation, and only for ‘bio’ wines. This would be the first time that any AOC has made organic agriculture a condition for being sold under the name.

The whites from Baux can currently be bottled as either Vins De Pays or AOC Coteaux d’Aix. Producers want the addition of two new grape varieties – Marsanne and Roussance – and for all winemakers to adhere to a policy of organic wine making.

The decision will be granted by INAO (National Institute of Appellations) at the end of this year.

Finally, a new Vins De Pays is in the final stages of approval in the southwest of France. The Vins De Pays d’Atlantique is expected to include all grape varieties from the Charente, Dordogne, Lot et Garonne and Gironde – and potentially the Pays Basque.

It is hoped the project will control the surplus of AOC wines in the area, and cut down on the amount of vines needed to be permanently uprooted.

Daniel Pinan, an inspector at ONIVINS, the wine governing body, told decanter.com he expects the Vins De Pays to be in production from the 2006 harvest.

Written by Jane Anson