Wine union Vignerons des Côtes du Rhône, best known for its Cellier des Dauphins brand, is to merge with its smaller counterpart, Vignerons de l'Enclave des Papes. 

Celliers des Dauphins managing director, Gilles Le Besnerais, told just-drinks today (12 November) that the move would improve the groups' control over production and allow for greater economies of scale. The new entity will constitute 30% of all AOC Côtes du Rhône wine.

Le Besnerais said the merger combined 13 individual co-ops, including more than 3,000 winemakers.

The new group is expected market 55m bottles of wine annually and generate annual turnover of around EUR100m (US$125.35m).

"Consolidation has already taken place in other wine-growing regions of France and given the fragmented nature of the sector in this country there is probably more to come," Le Besnerais said.