France's wine co-operatives are seeking to negotiate a deal with brokers and traders guaranteeing a minimum price paid to producers.

The move comes amid fears this year's abundant harvest - up 23% on 2003 - combined the level of existing stocks and poor export volumes,  will result in  sharp downward pressures on prices.

Denis Verdier, president of the Vignerons Cooperateurs de France (VCF), which represents 110,000 wine growers, said he was confident a deal could be struck as it was in the best interests of the sector to do so.

The VCF is looking to obtain a minimum price of 45 euro centimes for a litre of table wine in Languedoc-Roussillon, a region where most of the co-ops are located, rising to 49 centimes/litre for vin de pays.

For AOCs, it recommends the price paid to growers be superior to that for vin de pays.