A GBP1.3m (US$2.1m) promotion campaign has been launched in the US by the trade body responsible for wines from the South West of France.

The three-year campaign, partly financed by the EU, is the first to be launched by the Interprofession des Vins de Sud Ouest (IVSO) in the US, the group said today (29 June).

IVSO represents France's fourth biggest wine area, in terms of both volume and value, with 18 appellations and 22 vins de pays.

The US is expected to be the world's largest wine market in volume terms by 2012, according to figures from Vinexpo and IWSR.

"We are committed to the United States market, which represents enormous potential for our wines," said Paul Fabre, IVSO director.

The promotion campaign will initially target wine critics, with samples to be sent to 50 journalists. A trade and press seminar will take place in New York and an advert has been placed in the Vinexpo edition of Wine Spectator magazine.