Russian politicians are lobbying officials in Crimea to establish a new body to oversee wine production in the region and name actor Gerard Depardieu head of the group.

Members of Russia's parliament have called on Crimean Prime Minister Sergei Aksyonov to set up a local agency so officials can ensure the maximum growth potential of the area's wine industry in the former Ukrainian territory and they have nominated the Frenchman, who became a Russian citizen last year (13), to take on a key role.

Politician Igor Zotov is quoted as saying, "Today, Gerard is a symbol of not only French cinema and French charm, but also of the Russian soul's generosity.

"It would be good for the region if Depardieu, a globally known expert on wine production, headed a state agency or a public organization of Crimean winemakers. This would attract the attention of the Russian and global public to Crimean wine, which not only isn't inferior to products of the world's best known wine-making regions, in terms of quality, but is even superior to them in some aspects."

Depardieu, who reportedly purchased some vineyards in Crimea last year (13), has yet to respond to the news.

If he agrees to take on the role, it won't be the Green Card star's first foray into the booze business - he recently announced plans to start his own environmentally-friendly vodka brand in Russia.

Crimea was annexed with Russia following a public vote in March (14), as political unrest in the Eastern European region threatened the stability of the Ukraine.