Sud de France winemakers enjoy boon

Tue May 19, 2009 10:13am EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Paul Casciato

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Producers from the world's biggest wine region are on a mission to tell the world about a renaissance in the south of France whose time may have come on the wings of a global depression.

Some 25,000 producers, 270 wine cooperatives and 3,000 businesses across a vast arc of France's Mediterranean coast from the Spanish border to the Rhone valley are exploding the region's table wine image and have joined forces under the umbrella marque of "Sud de France" to take on the world market.

In the last three years, the Sud de France brand created by the governing council for France's Languedoc-Roussillon region has been establishing export footholds around the world and winning converts for its wines, food and agricultural products.

"We are running operations in 30 countries worldwide," Sud de France Export executive project manager for the wine department Elodie Le Drean told Reuters at the London International Wine Fair this month.

She said the region has opened export houses (Maisons de la Region Languedoc-Roussillon) in London, Shanghai, Milan, Brussels and in New York in the last three years to help regional businesses establish relations, woo clients and conduct marketing campaigns.

Le Drean said the global recession enveloping the world could actually be a blessing in disguise for Sud de France winemakers, who have been undergoing a revolution in the way they grow grapes, make and even market their wines.

"It's the moment to give our wines a voice," she said.

Languedoc has been a center of wine-making since the ancient Greeks first planted grapes in the area. The Romans also settled here and a section of one of the oldest Roman roads in Gaul, the Via Domitia, built for travel and commerce including the trade in wine, can still be found in the city of Narbonne.   Continued...

<p>Man tastes red wine in Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte in Martillac, southwestern France, March 30, 2009. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau</p>