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  • Guest contributor
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  • Guest contributor
30 Sep 2013
 

Update 30 Sep pm - Apparently the website cited below enjoyed 150,000 visits last weekend - JR.   

Yohan Castaing writes:

Are French politicians aware that wine is an economic asset? After the submission of a report to a group of members of Assemblée Nationale directed by Professor Reynaud (a psychiatrist and addiction specialist), reforms are about to be considered by the government. These reforms aim to reduce alcohol consumption in France. Unfortunately the proposed tools seems to be very inadequate.

Responding to this pressure, everyone in the wine industry is rallying round a website designed to produce a national petition against this absurd system. It has just been launched and explains all the proposed measures. Called Ce Qui Va Vraiement Saouler Les Français, its literal meaning, 'what will really make the French drunk', plays on the meaning of saouler in the spoken language for an action that is angry or unwelcome rather than drunk. The picture below, with its caption, 'Thank you, Monsieur President, for supporting our country's second most important export', is taken from the website.

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These are the proposed measures:

- A ban on talking about wine on the internet and social networks. In France, the Evin law prohibits advertisements for wine. This law was passed 20 years ago and the internet is not mentioned. Now the government wants to ban one of the fundamental principles of human rights: the right of free expression.

- A ban on speaking positively about wine in the media. To praise wine and boost wine consumption, even moderate consumption, is already prohibited. But now, the specialists want to prohibit talking about wine in the media, including articles on wine tasting, rating notes and articles. In other words, JancisRobinson.com would no longer have the right to be published in France and neither wine producers nor merchants would have the right to pass any comments on this website on to their customers.

These first two reforms may be enacted as early as the first half of 2014.

- Taxation of wine in the name of public health. To finance the costs of addiction and Sécurité Sociale (still deficit in France!), a tax could be implemented.

- Radicalisation of the health message. Wine bottles are already adorned with the words: 'The abuse of alcohol is dangerous for your health.' It is proposed that these words be replaced by: 'Alcohol is dangerous for health' and any mention of moderate consumption will be prohibited.

Wine is France's second most important export and the main source of foreign currency for the country. Nearly 500,000 people in France produce French wine.

The players in the wine industry are now seeking to put pressure on the various French authorities, because municipal elections will be held in 2014. However, it is most disheartening to see evidence that France does not even like its own wine. This confirms suspicions outlined in this earlier article.