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Geographical protection approved for France’s ‘wine from the midi’

The recognition lends prestige to locally produced wines

The sunny climate and arid soil of the region makes vines develop deeper roots Pic: ldgfr photos / Shutterstock

The south of France has been acknowledged as a distinctive wine producing region in a move that will add prestige to many locally produced wines.

The ‘Terres du Midi’ Indications géographiques protégées (IGP) label has been officially recognised by the European Commission due to the wines’ distinctive character.

The label covers wines from Aude, Gard, Hérault, Pyrénées-Orientales and certain communes in Lozère.

The arid soil of these areas means that grape vines must develop deeper roots, which, combined with the sunny climate, gives their wines a distinctive character.

The label, which was first proposed in 2018, received official approval from the European Commission on October 13, 2023. It will apply to red, white and rosé wines.

There are already several IGP and AOP labels in the region, however, the new label will help boost the profile and prestige of many other wines that were previously unrecognised, such as Listel, Salins du Midi or Provenance.

While the AOP/AOC and IGC labels are by no means an indication of taste or quality per se, they lend a level of trust and prestige to a brand that can help with product recognition and export in particular.

Read more: AOP or IGP, doux or liquoreux…How to interpret French wine labels 

What is an IGP label?

IGP labels can apply to food, wine and produce from a specific geographic region that are considered to have a distinctive quality, reputation or other characteristics. 

The IGP label is typically reserved for larger regions and imposes a looser set of criteria than the more stringent AOP and AOC labels.

Wines with IGP labels include:

  • Bouche du Rhône
  • Sable de Camargue
  • Coteaux du Pont du Gard
  • Alpes de Haute Provence

What are the AOP and AOC labels?

The more prestigious AOP and AOC labels ensure that a product from a specific place is made in a certain way.

Appellation d’origine protégée (AOP) is a European category, whereas Appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC) is its French counterpart. Essentially, products that qualify for an AOC label in France can also have the AOP label.

Both labels show that a product is made in a specific geographic region according to certain manufacturing guidelines.

Wines with AOP/AOC labels include:

  • Champagne
  • Bordeaux 
  • Chablis
  • Côte Chalonnaise
  • Muscadet Sèvre-et-Maine

Related articles: 

Wine tips: don’t stick to your favourite French grape 

Tannins can make red wine undrinkable or delicious – what are they?

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