The French wine industry's AOC classification system has come under fire from the consumer rights association UFC-Que Choisir.

Based on a survey of 75 industry professionals, the association claimed this week that a third of AOC wines do not merit the prestigious label due to their poor quality and lack of real link with the growing region cited.

"There's been a steady fall in the quality of many AOCs over a number of years now, which has completely undermined consumer confidence," says UFC-Que Choisir president, Alain Bazot.

The association called on national appellation institute INAO to tighten controls on wines designated AOC and for wine makers found breaking the rules to be fined.