FRANCE (Toulon) - Wine producers from the French picturesque growing region of the Provence are in "rose" anger about an EU plan, which would permit producers to mix white and red wines in order to make a Rosé. "They risk destroying our tradition", says the tenor of the whole Southern France region.
French vintagers produce a third of the worldwide Rosé market, which is on the upswing. Thus, Rosé wines are not only very popular as summer wines in the Mediterranean region, but it is exactly there that once cannot imagine to live without the Rosé. For people in the south of the country it is normal to enjoy a glass Rosé with a plate of olives or grilled fish in the hot summer. The Rosé is a kind of cultural artifact in France, similar to the Boules.
French producers have always fought very hard for their Rosé, which had been denounced an inferior wine by purists. "The Rosé was always called second-best after his brothers the white and red wines", says a vintager's spokesperson. This seems to be over, however. The efforts of the producers and associations have turned out to be successful. The global market for Rosé is booming.
However, now it is the EU that is getting in their way. A commission is currently working out rules, according to which not only producers, but also wine dealers are allowed to mix white and red wines, in order to be a player in the global Rosé market. Australia and California have allowed this already.
"This is heresy", says Francois Millo, chairman of the winemaker-association of the Provence angrily and adds: "If this act passes, the market of Rosé will be overwhelmed with the worst quality wines and our hard fought and painstaking image will be destroyed. This would mean a step back of at least 10 years". He continues furiously: "And I don't even want to think about the fact that then, hundreds of jobs will be at stake."
Local French officials are now trying to influence the Nicolas Sarkozy administration in order to block these EU plans, or at least to obtain a waterproof producer's instruction of the traditional Rosé vinification. This they want to achieve in order to protect the quality of the southern French Rosé from the tons of Rosé wines that can be expected if this law passes.
The EU is scheduled to make a decision on April 27th. In an interview a spokesman of the European Commission said: "We understand the fear of the producers. We will stay in contact with the associations and we will try to consider the vintager's fears and worries in making this decision." (aw-yoopress)