France has been slipping for a while from it’s lofty seat at the top of the wine world due to increased competition across the globe but also internal problems such as inconsistent quality standards, lack of government support, and the recent move among younger generations away from wine to beer and spirits. Yet the country’s wine reputation still stems from having some of the world’s top vineyards and producers. When you mention France many consumers continue to conjure up images of first growth Bordeaux, rare Burgundies, and grand Champagne houses. But even this illustrious reputation is now being threatened it seems, for as The Independent recently reported, a senior French wine official has declared that French wine will become “like Coca Cola”.
It is a disturbing thought, but some believe it’s France’s best option to compete, saying the top and upper middle tiered producers can remain unchanged but the lower tiers will benefit from being consolidated to create more uniform wines of dependable quality that will challenge Australian and other New World wines on the cheap and cheerful shelves of your supermarket.
Is this a win for value seeking consumers disappointed by uneven quality or a tragic loss for the beloved and very French idea of terroir?