Just bought vineyards in France ? Just a minute…. PART 6

Vineyards everywhere in France in 2016: There will be a regulation

A European reform authorizes the planting of 8000 hectares of additional vineyards in France in 2016 and there will be some consequences.

From 1 January 2016, it will be possible to extend the vineyards throughout France, including in Bordeaux. There will however « an authorization system for regulated minimum and absolutely vital regulation of planting rights ».

What is the real significance of this European reform authorizing the planting of additional vines in France and Europe?

The cornerstone of the reform of planting rights is basically a “legal reversal”: the principle was until now the ban unless expressl authorization whereas from 2016, the planting authorization becomes the principle without express and justified restrictions, for all types of wines and on the whole territory. Also are not the only ones concerned by this reform wines with a geographical indication (PDO, PGI), but also wines without geographical indication ( best known under the name « Table Wines”).

Following negotiations over seven years with European authorities, we came to a compromise acceptable to all parties. We went from a full liberalization will, upheld by the Commission, to an authorization system for an absolutely vital regulation of these rights. Furthermore, the Commission agreed to limit to 1% annual increase of the vineyards in each Member State of the Union.

The concrete impact of this reform is very difficult to assess today, especially in the short term. We must indeed not forget that it takes several years between obtaining a license, the planting of vines and the ability to effectively produce a quality wine… But this reform takes into account the specificities of each production region, which individually will be able to regulate such authorizations in order to better control these new plantations possibilities.

Thus in the case of Bordeaux, the expansion will represent only 0.5% of the area of ​​vineyards, representing 401 hectares. Of these, only 1 hectare will be without geographical indications for the wine and the other 400 will be GI’s ones. This extension should thus not have real impact on the market and on prices.

Finally these new plantations can be limited by FranceAgrimer to take into account the structural and economic characteristics of each region.

One might think at first glance that this reform is positive for consumers since it should have access to a wider selection of wines and tastes. He will have the opportunity to purchase wines from unpublished sources and / or made from new grape varieties assemblies. However, one may wonder about the effect of this « new wave » on consumers already a little lost in the existing choice between the various AOC, IGP, brands, varieties, traditional terms etc.

From a legal standpoint, we will have to be extremely careful not to see tomorrow on the shelves a table wine whose vineyards would be « planted in the Rhone Valley » or « borders AOC Bordeaux ».

More, this reform should also have an impact on the development of new wine brands or existing brands declined or adapted to these new vineyards. Indeed, the operators will have the choice to develop new brands or to capitalize on their existing brands to benefit from their already established fame . In this case, the wine regulations will have to be respected scrupulously, as we have seen in this series of articles “Just bought vineyards in France ? Just a minute….”.


Please, feel free to contact our Lexwine department for more information.