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US plan to sell 'château' wine in EU

Despite furious opposition in France, the European Commission is considering a request from Washington that American producers be allowed to sell wines abroad labelled with spurious château titles. The EC postponed a decision last week, following French protests. But most other EU countries – including Britain – favour a change in the rules.

Wine producers in the Bordeaux area, home of the "château" label, say this would amount to a "betrayal of heritage". In France, they say, the title château can only be bestowed on a wine produced entirely in one vineyard that has won the right to a local or regional title or "appellation". In the US, they say the label can be used on bottles produced in wine "factories" with grapes blended from a dozen different vineyards.