Producers of France’s Cahors wine could soon be supplementing the range with a fruity, early-drinking version to be sold at an affordable price.

A new wine is the appellation’s best hope of halting plummeting supermarket sales, according to Jean Roche, president of the federation of independent winemakers of the Lot département. Cahors is the Lot’s only AOC.

At a recent general assembly of the federation, Roche reported a 13.3% drop in supermarket sales of Cahors wine against a 2.5% fall for France’s South West region as a whole.

‘In the last three years, 131,000 hectolitres of Cahors have never left the chais,’ he said.

The new wine will target the mid-market and comply with appellation rules, Roche added. ‘It’s a matter of adapting the vinification to create not a lighter wine but a fruity, supple and affordable AC Cahors for drinking within two years of bottling.

According to Roche, current research shows that the mid-market is where the growth is. ‘Yet this is the very segment of the market where Cahors shows a gap,’ he says. ‘We jump from lots of basic wine to high quality offerings.’

Bottles are expected to retail at around €3 (US$3.57) and have a common look and label.

France’s domestic mass-market has been in freefall since 2000 as consumers swap daily drinking for occasional drinking and take heed of tighter drink-drive laws.

Written by Liz Hughes