French winemakers have their over the possibility the EU may allow US imported wines to be called “Chateau” or “Clos.” Currently in France, both these terms must only refer to an AOC wine coming only from grapes that are harvested and vinified on a single estate.
In the US there is no regulation and any winery can call itself a Chateau even if it is buying in grapes from other growers in different regions.
French producers say that allowing American wine producers to sell their wines in Europe using the French words château or clos would be an attack on French heritage – and competitive advantage.
Château Montelena, one of the most renowned ‘château’ wines in the US said that as export accounts for only 7% of its overall business, it did not have an official position on the subject.
I’m not too sure where I stand on this one. I think French winemakers need to protect their heritage wherever they can; as if this new law passes, I can see how a winery in any country could export into France and potentially try to deceive the French public into thinking the wine is French in origin (based solely on the look of the package).
On the other hand, I think you’d have to be an idiot to think that, although the Chateau Montelena label does look kind-of French.
French wine drinkers are very stuck in their ways and I don’t think a simple “Chateau” or “Clos” addition to a wine label will be enough to deceive people into drinking American wine. France is such an inconsequential wine market for America, that French winemakers probably shouldn’t flatter themselves by thinking anyone else has thought about this idea until now.