Three of the leading figures in the Bordeaux industry have slammed criticism of the region and urged the French wine business to follow Bordeaux's lead in tackling the industry's problems.

In an open letter to the industry, Allan Sichel, head of the Bordeaux négociants federation, CIVB president Christian Delpeuch and Jacques Bertrand, head of the Grand Vins union, said "pointing the finger at the Bordeaux wine industry has become something of a habit".

"It gets blamed for a thousand evils, indeed for the difficulties of the whole French wine business," they said.

The three men said that Bordeaux had "suffered as much as everyone else" from the downturn in the French market and "the anti-wine stance of the French government".

They argued that growers in Bordeaux could not be blamed for planting more vineyards at a time when sales were rising.

"Should one criticise a whole generation of Bordelais growers and négociants for doubling their production capacity, without any public finance, at a time when their sales volume was also doubling?" they asked.

They added that AOC wines across France should be repositioned as part of a "process of voluntary reforms, not a dangerous game of opposing other producing regions".  

Sichel, Delpeuch and Bertrand argued that other wine regions in France to consider "the Bordeaux plan, including grubbing up vineyards and stricter controls on production.

They added: "In the short term, and in the absence of these urgent reforms, it will be useless to rely upon the usual ploys of distillation and a scattering of subsidies. The French wine-growing industry deserves more than public charity. It deserves first of all the respect of the state."