Is French Wine Losing Its Prominence? (1999)

Plonk and Prejudice (1999): For over a century French vineyards have led the world. But upstarts from Chile, Australia and New Zealand have stolen international market share and they’re even winning over French drinkers. Subscribe to Journeyman here: For three-Michelin star chef Bernard Loiseau, the relentless march of international wines is a travesty. "The danger for me is varietal wines - I am totally against them. Today, you take a bottle labelled cabernet or Chardonnay... and if you do a blind tasting you don't know where it comes from!" But the familiar cry from the wine establishment does not agree with the modern French consumer's palette. It's the fruitier, fresher wines of Australia, Chile and South Africa that are finding favour with supermarket consumers who are choosing as much for the label as the quality. In the vineyards of Burgundy and Bordeaux the success of international wines is meeting with muted approval. "The international wines open a new wine consumer... they're a beginners wine." But this polite dismissal conveniently ignores some big shifts in the industry. For years now, local co-operatives in the Languedoc region of southern France have employed foreign winemakers for modern expertise. And it's paying off in sales. But there's still acute anxiety that the joys of traditional wine-making will be lost in the rush to copy international success. A in-depth report on the shifting trends in the 90s wine world, and featuring interviews with Bernard Loiseau, who tragically committed suicide in 2003. For more information, visit Like us on Facebook: Follow us on Twitter: Follow us on Instagram: ABC Australia - Ref. 0691