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EU Scraps Plans To Allow Rosé Wine To Be Made By Blending Red and White

Posted Jun 09 2009 12:18pm

<!– @page { margin: 2cm } P { margin-bottom: 0.21cm } –> The battle of the rosés has come to an end. A sigh of relief can be breathed as the European Commission have today confirmed they will not proceed with plans to let European winemakers produce cheap rosé by combining red and white wine together (eeugh thank God!)

The decision comes after wine makers in France and Italy tried to prevent the plans with concerns that cheap imitations would overtake their increasing market of rosé wines.

Mariann Fischer Boel – the European agriculture commissioner – released a statement telling how the action to abolish restrictions on how the wine is produced in the EU has been abandoned.

It is important to heed our producers when they are worried about changes in regulations,” she said. “It became clear in recent weeks that the majority in the wine industry believed that ending the ban on blending of wines would damage the image of traditional rosé.”

Almost 30 per cent of the world’s rosé is produced by France, and Agriculture Minister Michel Barnier praised the EU and deemed it a personal victory after his own attempts to “convince the Commission to defend our culinary way of life”.

In actual fact, the French government had already agreed to the European Commission plan some months before, with many wine makers in the country keen to use their surplus amounts of red and white wine to get a piece of the growing rosé market.

However, after an uprising from rosé producers in Provence and the Loire valley, the government proposed a compromise – for real rosé to be labelled as “traditional” or “authentic”.

However, this did not go down well with the rosé producers as they felt the target market of rosé drinkers was young people, who would be uninterested in a “traditional” wine.

Brussels plans to abandon the proposal was warmly welcomed by the rosé producers. President of the French wine producers association, Xavier de Volontat, said, “We are relieved that Brussels has agreed to defend wine-making expertise and not commercial considerations.”

There are two ways to produce traditional rosé wine as well as combining wine using both methods. Red grapes are fermented for shorter period than usual, which forms a lighter coloured juice. The other way of doing it is to “bleed” an immature red wine and the liquid released is used to make rosé.

Wine makers in Australia, the US and South Africa are allowed to make the pink stuff by combining red and white wine, and the EU have permitted this blended rosé to be imported into Europe.

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