Vins de Pays wines are bucking the trend for declining French wine sales and promotions are continuing. For the first time in four years a major tasting of the style will take place in London next week. The tasting will bring together 43 producers and 350 wines and is designed to show the quality and value available in the French market. The French have taken a battering in recent weeks: export figures showed sales declined 10% last year (volume and value). Trade body Sopexa said the first six months of last year were difficult because of disappointing millennium sales, but in the second half of the year the situation improved. In the last two months of the year French wine sales in the UK off-trade rose 4%. Within that the Vins de Pays category was up 6%. The multiples have been making the most of deals available within the category and the latest to promote them is the Co-op which is offering 20% off a selection of its Vins de Pays, and a competition for free cases of the wines. The category is being supported by a pan-European (UK, Holland, Belgium, Denmark and Germany) advertising campaign which began last year and continues in the UK with press advertising. The wines also have their own website and news bulletin. The initiative has a media spend of £500,000 this year with a further £300,000 planned. {{DRINKS }}