Industry associations representing France's wine growers and traders, are poised to submit recommendations to the government in response to the crisis facing the sector.

These are likely to include provision for the creation of a new category of wine which would benefit from considerably more flexible production regulations than AOC or French country wines. For example, the marrying of wines from different vineyards, where the original vine content is only 85% compared to 100% for AOC's and country wines.

Exporters and traders see a more flexible approach as being a means of developing brands and adapting French wines to international tastes for light and easy to-drink varieties as well as combating the success of foreign wines.

However, there is little sign of consensus with some growers frowning at the doubtful oeneological practices such recommendations would entail, for example, the use of wooden chips to ferment and age wines.

Growers also fear that a new category of wine would give traders too dominant position in the industry.