A rosé by any name is contentious

Excerpted from Drinks International:

Arguments between winemakers over a new rosé wine brand in Provence have forced France's national fraud office to intervene.

Provence’s largest AOC union, Côtes de Provence, has accused local firm PGA Domaines of “stealing” the region’s name for its new Rosé de Provence wine. Rules prevent wine brands in France from using any part of an existing AOC name. The feud is the latest example of a power struggle between France’s wine appellations and a new wave of brands, as the sector battles to regain ground in foreign markets.

Quarrelling over the new PGA Domaines brand became so bad that French fraud police, more accustomed to handling high-level corruption cases, were called in to investigate the dispute earlier this year.

They have since sided with PGA Domaines, but lawyers for Côtes de Provence remain on standby to sue the group if France’s national appellation body, INAO, refuses to accept the Rosé de Provence brand.

James de Roany, head of PGA Domaines, told Drinks International: “If unfortunately INAO was not to agree on our brand, we will not stop using it.”

Surging rosé wine sales in the key UK market have heightened competitive tension in Provence, where 80 per cent of wine produced is rosé, according to union figures. De Roany said he would have no problem with other regional wineries printing "rosé de Provence" on their labels to simplify their offering for foreign consumers.

“We believe that Provence rosé wines are far too weak in export markets and that they are not profiting enough from the boom in this category of wines. Provence producers claim that they are the world leading rosé producers but this is not true if they only export 10% of their production.”

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