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French producer succeeds in exporting low alcohol wine

The lowest-alcohol wine currently available on the market will finally hit the shelves of UK wine merchants this summer.

Vincent and Francois Pugibet, who make low-alcohol wine from Domaine de la Colombette in the Languedoc, have been given permission by the French government to export their wine to the UK.

They have three wines: red, white and rose, all under the brand name ‘Plume’, which come in at 9% alcohol.

Two years ago, they struck a deal with Tesco for it to be sold in the UK but French wine authorities argued that their reverse-osmosis dealcoholisation process could not be legally exported as French wine. As a result the product was recalled.

Colombette have successfully challenged the ruling on two grounds. First, that exporting to the UK should not be classified by the EU as ‘export’ because it remains within the EU’s borders.

Second, from 1 August 2009, it has been agreed that their reverse-osmosis dealcoholisation technique will be classed as a legitimate experimental technique for wine production.

These dual rulings mean that the low-alcohol wine will be available in the UK this summer.

Nicolas are on board to receive and sell the wine and deals with other retailers are imminent.

Colombette already sell 500,000 bottles a year of Plume within France, which now accounts for half their overall volume of sales.

Written by Robert Stanier

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