RUNNING A WINE BUSINESS IN FRANCE
• Professional qualifications are not essential for running a vineyard in France, although they can be necessary when it comes to buying agricultural land if neighbouring farmers are also interested in it. Instruction in winemaking is available in France at various levels. Certification is necessary to buy or use spray products.
• The Springs registered as agriculteurs, although they say that as the proprietors of agricultural land, this is just a formality. It is obligatory, however, to be registered with the Mutualité Sociale Agricole (MSA), the social security organisation for farmers.
• All AOC (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée), AOP (Appellation d’Origine Protégée) and IGP (Indication Géographique Protégée – previously Vin de Pays) wines have to pass analytical tests and tasting assessments in order to be sold as such.
• Most vineyards are linked to independent wine laboratories, which offer a variety of services. They can often provide contract services, such as bottling at the vineyard with their own machines.
• The Vignerons Indépendants federation is the principal national organisation for independent winemakers. It lobbies central government on issues affecting wine producers and has local branches throughout the country that offer practical assistance. vigneron-independant.com