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05.2009

Massachusetts Beverage Business

archivedOnWineReport

ROSÉ RAGE

THESE ARE CHALLENGING TIMES for France’s wine industry. Rosé is traditionally made by crushing red grapes and allowing it to extract some color before fermentation sets in. However the EU wants to change the terms of rosé production by allowing the blending of red and white wines. The method is legal in Champagne but rarely done elsewhere in Europe. France is the world’s premier rosé-maker. It accounts for 1O% of global production and 28% of all European production. Growth of rosé has risen to new heights in recent years and the EU Commission wants a piece of the action. They believe loosening the rules will make them more competitive at home and abroad as the blending practice is commonly used among producers in other world regions. Outraged at the proposition, French winemakers have won the right to carry a special designation on their labels indicating that their rosé wines are made from “traditional” production methods. But the concession by the EU Commission did little to placate the French producers who feel that they are being forced to justify themselves and that mixing reds and whites will create a sub-par product. As of press time, the Commission was due to approve the new regulations in late April.

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