France may finally accept the little château on the prairie
Wine lovers in Britain and elsewhere in Europe may soon be drinking bottles of Château Dead Man's Gulch or, more likely, Château Napa Valley.
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.
"This is about defending tradition and quality," said Laurent Gapenne, who owns the Château de Laville and is president of the Fédération des grands vins de Bordeaux. "The Americans want to churn out château wines from grapes grown in any old place which, obviously, cuts the price."
EC officials say the issue is part of a wider negotiation that could generate advantages for European wine sales in the US. American exporters had a temporary right to sell château wines abroad from 2006 to 2009. In return for permanent rights – especially lucrative in China – Washington is considering long-standing EU demands for stricter rules on the marketing of US wines within America under generic European names. Current US law allows wines to be labelled as, for example, "American Burgundy", "Californian Champagne", or "American Chablis".
The roughly 3,000 Bordeaux châteaux include aristocratic names such as Château Petrus and Château Cheval Blanc which sell for thousands of euros a bottle. They also include hundreds of obscure château wines sold in French supermarkets.
- 1 Scottish independence: Ireland since 1919 is a lesson for Scotland in what a Yes vote means
- 2 Thailand deaths: Pair's bloodied bodies found naked on Koh Tao beach
- 3 Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
- 4 Kanye West stops concert after two fans don't stand up - doesn't realise one is in wheelchair and the other disabled
- 5 QS university world rankings: Imperial College London leapfrogs Oxford to join Cambridge as best British university
Thailand deaths: Pair's bloodied bodies found naked on Koh Tao beach
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: Police will be on high alert on Friday whatever the result
QS university world rankings: Imperial College London leapfrogs Oxford to join Cambridge as best British university
Scottish independence exclusive: Millions of banknotes sent to Scotland in case Yes vote sparks run on ATMs
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
£23m Birmingham cycle scheme is attacked by Tory councillor for not catering to the elderly
£35000 - £50000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior QA Engineer (Agil...
£26000 - £28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Digital Marketing Executive (SEO, PP...
£40000 - £50000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our retail client ...
£400 - £450 Per Annum possibly more for the right candidate: Clearwater People...