The French government has relaxed labelling restrictions on wine made with Syrah grapes.
In a remarkable concession that acknowledges consumers’ increasing fondness for New World wines, suppliers exporting to the UK have been permitted to use the grape’s Shiraz name, coined by Australian rivals.
France’s ministry of agriculture said the move was intended to make its wines “more accessible to UK and other non-French speaking consumers”.
Jean-Luc Dairien, director of French wines’ promotional body Onivins, said: “There has been considerable lobbying from the Vin de Pays négociants and importers on this issue. We are delighted with the ministry’s decision to permit the use of Shiraz or Syrah on French wines.
“We believe that it is a significant step towards creating a more open and dynamic French wine offering.”
Recent figures from ACNielsen (The Grocer, February 14, p62) showed France had a tough time in the UK off-trade last year as sales of wines from the New World enjoyed a surge.