The French wine classification system has been under serious review since early 2006, with a new system introduced in 2012. The new system consists of 3 categories rather than the previous 4, since there will be no category corresponding to VDQS from 2012.
The New Categories:
Vin de France: a table wine category basically replacing Vin de Table, but allowing grape variety and vintage to be indicated on the label. Vignobles de France, which means 'Wines from France'. This designation incorporates all wines that do not fall into the other two categories and has no geographical indication at all. As wines can be blended from no specific area.
Indication Géographique Protégée (IGP): an intermediate category basically replacing Vin de Pays. Wine with Protected Geographical Indication - Wines will be made from: A specific region, selected grapes, limited yields, minimum and maximum alcohol content. While terroir still plays a key role with this designation, its central role has declined, due to reduced requirements.
Appellation d'Origine Protégée (AOP): the highest category basically replacing AOC wines. Wine with Protected Appellation of Origin. All of the stringent AOC requirements remain in place. The singular focus on terroir continues to be at the heart of this designation.
The largest changes will be in the Vin de France category, and to VDQS wines, which either need to qualify as AOP wines or be downgraded to an IGP category. For the previous AOC wines, the move to AOP will only mean minor changes to the details of the label, while the actual names of the appellations themselves will remain unchanged.
While no new wines will be marketed under the old designations from 2012, wine bottles already in the market place, will not be required to be re-labeled.
The AOP is to be adopted by all EU countries over the next few years. So, we may be talking about the Italian Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) possibly becoming a Denominazione di Origine Protettivo (DOP) in the near future.