Saturday, October 28, 2006

"French Wines Experience"

In this Agence France-Presse article, French wine swallows its pride to win back British drinkers, which I have just, you should excuse the expression, stumbled upon, journalist Christophe Schmidt fills us in on the doings at the annual Wine Show in north London. Doings in which "[t]he French wine industry has pulled out all the stops at the [U.K.]'s biggest wine fair this weekend in an attempt to win back drinkers who have switched to bottles from the 'New World.' "
Instead of the various regional distinctions that mark out French wines, bottles will be rebranded by "experience" at the show.

The aim is not to baffle non-wine buffs but at the same time keep the idea of diversity, which is one of French wine's key characteristics.

...the British wine industry is small and the vast majority of the wine drunk is imported.

Although French wines are still top choice in bars and restaurants, they have been overtaken by their Australian rivals in the retail sector. Californian, Chilean and South African wines have also staked their claim.

"An average supermarket line now has wines from 20 countries," said Florence Rhydderch, from the French marketing agency Sopexa that is masterminding the Gallic makeover.

...At wine shows, French wines are normally presented by where they come from but if studies are to be believed, this has left consumers scratching their heads.

In the "French Wines Experience," the specially-created "zones" will be themed "nights in," "nights out," "dinner parties," "celebrations," "outdoors" and "Christmas."

So instead of being bamboozled by racks of Bordeaux, there may be a syrupy number from the Loire Valley next to a champagne or a Cote du Rhone, helping buyers to choose for a particular occasion.

French wine experts will be on hand to guide anyone needing a helping hand in choosing.

Why don't they just go all the way and put little variations of smiley faces on the labels?

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