The Conseil Interprofessionnel du Vin de Bordeaux (CIVB), which represents Bordeaux grape growers and negociants, has engaged the Californian company Benson Marketing Group to set up a new US press office.

"These have been difficult times for French imports into the US. But recent advances in viticulture and winemaking are changing the landscape of Bordeaux wines for the better," said CIVB president Christian Delpeuch.

The US move forms part of a global campaign by the CIVB to advance grape growing and winemaking quality and boost exports. "Bordeaux is implementing a long-term plan to restructure and relaunch and we are already seeing results in the UK and elsewhere," Delpeuch said.

Activity in the US will include media outreach, trade tastings and educational tools aimed at promoting Bordeaux wines in the US$10 to US$25 per bottle price range. In addition, the CIVB, which was created in 1948 and represents 10,000 growers and 400 negociants in the Bordeaux region, will continue to work in collaboration with the French food and wine promotion organisation Sopexa in the US.

"Bordeaux is the reference point for Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, among other grape varietals, but it's still a mystery to many Americans," said Jeremy Benson, president of Benson Marketing Group. "Our job will be to highlight what's classic and historic, and what's new and innovative, about Bordeaux."