Feature

Dumbing down wine labels

The week's news at a glance.

Bordeaux, France

In an effort to prop up declining wine exports, the French government said last week that it would change the way wine was labeled. Wine experts believe that the French practice of labeling bottles by wine-growing region, such as Medoc, rather than by grape type, such as Merlot, is intimidating to the new crop of American wine drinkers. French wine exports fell by more than 3 percent last year, as U.S. consumers opted instead for the idiot-proof labels of California, Australian, and Chilean wines. True connoisseurs needn’t be too alarmed, though. The new labels will only be slapped on the cheap stuff.

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