French, Spanish and Italian winemakers are thanking the European Union agriculture chief for scrapping plans that would have allowed wineries to label blended red and white wines as rosé.

The European winemakers, the largest in the world, use a different, traditional method to make their roses, and they say the proposed EU changes would have deceived customers.   

They contend that simply adding red wine to white wine to make rose would turn winemaking into an industry instead of a skill, and put thousands of people out of work.

The EU agriculture commissioner, Mariann Fischer Boel announced Monday she was withdrawing the proposed new rule on blended rosé, in order to protect the image of traditional quality rose wine.

Quality rosé is generally made from dark-skinned grapes that otherwise would be used for white-wine production.  The uncolored juice from crushed grapes is allowed to remain in contact with the grape skins and seeds for a time, and even before fermentation it acquires the characteristic pale pink tinge of classic rosé wine.

Winemakers in Spain, Italy and France - the world's three biggest wine producers - say their counterparts in some other countries blend red and white wines and call them rosé.  However, champagne and other sparkling wines are produced by blending almost everywhere, even in France and Spain.

The EU's rules about rosé wine apply only to wine produced in the European Union, so there are no restrictions on sales of wine from other countries, however it is made.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.