The French Treasury has signed a deal with the country's wine and spirits trade bodies FEVS and AGEV to help struggling wine firms gain access to credit.

The agreement will make it easier for wineries to use part of their stocks as a guarantee against loans, by introducing French Customs as an independent inspector of stocks' quality and quantity.

"The economic crisis has heightened the notion of risk among banks making credit lines difficult to obtain," an FEVS spokesperson told just-drinks today (4 June).

The role of Customs could go a long way in allaying banks fears on the creditworthiness of firms."

He added that it is difficult to gauge the financial health of many wine firms. "Firms who export a good part of their production will be more exposed than those more anchored to domestic markets will be feeling the pinch less."