Furious at France's refusal to back America in the invasion of Iraq, Texas legislators are backing a bill to triple state taxes on French wines.

The proposal by state representative Wayne Christian was supported on Tuesday this week by the Texas Conservative Coalition.

‘This bill gives Texans a chance to show their support for President Bush and to send a message of disappointment to the French,’ Coalition vice-president Robby Cook said.

The bill would increase tax on French wine in Texan restaurants from 14% to 42%, with a similar hike in the off-trade. Texas is the president’s home state.

French trade commissioner Jean-Pierre Cerveau at the French Consulate in Houston said the bill would be illegal and added it didn’t reflect most Texans’ feelings toward France.

Texas wineries assured French wine aficionadoes there was no need to despair as local wines were just as good as imported wines.

‘Texas produces a wide variety of wines that stand up to their French counterparts,’ Gina Puente-Brancato, owner of La Bodega winery at Dallas and head of the Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association said. ‘Regardless of their political position we hope people will sample Texas wines.’

Written by Adam Lechmere, and agencies20 March 2003