Fitou, the small wine appellation in southern France, is set to enter the Sud de France umbrella brand in a bid to improve the region's presence in foreign markets.

Fitou, which claims to be Languedoc's oldest wine appellation, announced this week that it has been officially recognised by the region's Sud de France brand.

Sud de France, formed as a concept more than two years ago but only officially launched outside of France this year, is designed to group together AOC wine areas from both Languedoc and Roussillon, in an attempt to improve the region's presence in international wine markets.

Winemakers and wine co-operatives in Languedoc Roussillon have been some of the worst hit by France's recent slide in wine export markets, a slip compounded by a fall in domestic consumption.

A split of opinion in Fitou originally saw the appellation opt out of Sud de France, amid fears it would lose its identity.

Katie Jones, UK sales and marketing director for the Mont Tauch co-operative in Fitou, said yesterday (12 August): "We are very pleased to have now been officially accepted under the Sud de France umbrella, and are looking forward to the increased promotional opportunities that this move will offer the appellation."