Treasury Today Country Profiles in association with Citi

Sacré bleu!

Woman dressed in blue holding a glass of blue wine

With the holiday season well under way, many who have already managed to spend some time in la belle France will no doubt have brought home a few bottles of their favourite red or white. For those who ventured to the southeast region of Occitanie, and the port city of Sète, did you remember the blue?

For around €12 you could have snapped up one of around 35,000 bottles of ‘Vindigo’ that have so far been produced by French entrepreneur René Le Bail and his company, Mediterra Vin.

Blue-tinged Vindigo is currently being produced in Bodegas Perfer in Spain’s Almeria region. This is due to a reluctance on the part of French domestic vintners to taint their craft with something quite so heretical. It took over 100 years before rosé was accepted.

But this is no trickery. Vindigo is an entirely natural white chardonnay. It draws its light blue hue from anthocyanin, a natural pigment contained in the pulp of red grape skins, through which the white wine is passed.

Vindigo is “ideal for the summer, to drink on the sand or at the edge of the swimming pool,” said M. Le Bail in an interview with French newspaper, Les Echos. With “pleasant aromas of cherry, raspberry and passion fruit” his wine apparently pairs well with seafood.

No category for ‘blue wine’ currently exists in European Union rules, according to specialist wine website, Decanter. It reported that in 2016, a Spanish start-up tried to launch a blue wine called ‘Gik’ but EU regulations banned it from being labelled ‘wine’, classifying it instead as ‘other alcoholic drink’.

Nonetheless, M. Le Bail persists and Vindigo is starting to attract attention from across the region. He reports enquiries from the UK, Italy and Belgium and even further afield from the rapidly expanding markets of China and Indonesia.

The global wine market is valued at around US$302bn. With major events in Asia such as the Hong Kong Vinexpo giving access to vast new markets, perhaps the French are onto something and chants of “allez les Bleus”, heard volubly this summer, was not just aimed at France’s World Cup winning team.