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Prodigal French winemakers return

France is celebrating its expat winemakers with a wine fair and conference bringing together all those who make their wine overseas.

Held in Paris on Monday 12 June, the wine fair will display joint and sole ventures from over 13 countries including South Africa, Hungary, Portugal, New Zealand, California and Uruguay.

The aim is to present their bottles to press and professionals, and to showcase the importance of the sector to the French industry as a whole.

‘The French can have a tendency to complain about the state of the wine sector,’ organiser, Sylvain Ouchikh, told decanter.com. ‘But I want to show that there are plenty of dynamic winemakers in this country, who are investing abroad and are very much part of the global growth of wine consumption.’

Ouchikh did not think the fair posed a threat to the image of domestic wine.

‘Showing foreign wines doesn’t devalue French ones; quite the contrary’ he said. ‘The one helps the other. And by doing this, we’re not complaining about threats from the new world, but capitalising on its possibilities.’

Most of the big names in French wine now have successful interests overseas – from Marnier Lapostelle in Chile, Jacques and Francois Lurton in Argentina and Moet Hennessey in California – often attracted by more relaxed vinification rules, good land values and high profit potential.

‘As more and more French companies expand into wine making overseas, it’s important that we bring some of the benefits of our experience back home to France,’ said Patrice Hateau of the Bernard Magrez group which owns 32 estates worldwide.

Written by Jane Anson

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