A proposed five year modernisation plan for France's wine sector, unveiled late last week, is being cautiously welcomed by the industry, although its failure to address recent uncertainties over the legality of wine on the web has been queried.

The main aim of the proposal, drawn up by the country's Agriculture Ministry, is to win back market share from international competitors by simplifying production and marketing. One of the most significant elements of the proposal, to be signed into law by August 2009, will be three new categories for French wines.

The most innovative will be the 'Wines of France' label, which will show the grape variety on the label, and use many cheaper production techniques pioneered by the New World, including adding wood chips, tannins and concentrated grape juice.

Wine sector professionals remain wary, however, of any suggestions in the plan that power over production decisions be centralised, and said its failure to clarify whether wine sales and promotions on the web are legal in France or not, rendered any idea of modernisation pointless.