A Prohibitionary Moment est passe´

It looks as though the French wine industry and common sense dodged a barrel, according to Decanter

The French National Assembly passed a healthcare law that DID NOT include a ban on alcohol advertising on the Internet and DID NOT ban promotional wine tastings at Chateaux, wine festivals and promotional events. On the other hand, 16 and 17 year olds may no longer buy alcohol.

France is in the midst of what we would call in the United States a "Prohibitionary Moment". Binge drinking and irresponsible use of alcohol has led to a number of problems for that country which in turn has led to some pretty drastic measure taken by the national government.

Among those measures was the interpretation of an elderly, pre-Internet law that did not explicitly allow advertising of wine on the Internet to mean, well, that wine my not be advertised on the Internet. This meant no mention of wine on producer websites and quite possibly no writing about wine on the Internet.

The Internet issue in particular has dogged the French wine industry or a couple years as the anti-alcohol lobby in that great country as become more and more empowered. The vote by the National Assembly, which appears to be followed up by a similar vote by the French Senate, will finally put the threat of blinder-based stupidity, where the Internet and wine is concerned, behind the French Wine Industry.

But it's also important to note that the Health Bill now passed by the National Assembly also originally included a provision that would have banned free promotional tastings, a ban that would have extended to chateaux and wine festivals.

The blow to tourism in wine regions and the blow to the French wine industry that such a ban would have been really isn't calculable. It's a bit like trying to estimate the effect that a ban on the use of spoons would have on the breakfast cereal industry.

I can't see any such threat to common sense here in the States. We still have our blue laws and we still have laws that limit access to wine and delivery of wine. But the danger the French face passed us by about 70 years ago.

On the other hand, the same healthcare bill will raise the age at which one is allowed to buy alcohol from 16 to 18. I can't argue with this. Any age restriction on buying and drinking alcohol is arbitrary. Eighteen seems reasonable to me.

That the French lawmakers were able to stand up to the nonsensical lobbying of the anti-alcohol types means credit is due. And credit is due to those who fought so long and hard against ignorance born of fear.

11 Responses

  1. Wink Lorch - March 10, 2009

    Tom – an extremely well-reasoned round up of the ridiculous debates that have just concluded about alcohol in France.
    Just one thing to add: in what is being termed by some as ‘The New French Paradox’, last week at the same time as these debates were going on, it became apparent that another French Government department had just created a Ministry for Wine Tourism – see http://blog.winetravelguides.com/2009/03/05/the-new-french-paradox/
    If the ban on tastings/festivals had really gone through the repercussions would, I agree, be unimaginable. And as for websites: well as some have written elsewhere, some pretty famous wine writers along with the not so famous might have all ended up together in the Bastille.

  2. Westoakland - March 10, 2009

    I agree, your message indicates that a socialist culture has finally been jolted into some sense.
    Over the decades, the French have embraced every aspect of economic and philosophical collectivism.
    Now, is it that our beloved wine is bringing them to their senses?
    It’s very interesting that they now (finally) decide to support aspects of private ownership (dare I write capitalism!). What happened to their ideals of communist methods of production, and all that other socialistic drivel?
    More important is the message this brings to our USA?
    I live in Michigan, where a couple of months ago my politicians took over $2 million dollars from the Michigan Beer and Wine Wholesalers Association behind-the-scenes. Folks, the vote resulting from this financial lubrication prohibited wine shipments from out-of-state retailers (read internet sales too). And, it never even came up for public scrutiny and comment.
    The bastards simple stopped my brethren and me from receiving wine from non-vineyard, out-of-state commercial shippers. So, I know what corruption and socialists can do to free enterprise.
    I’d like to thank Tom for his post, and I’d also like to suggest that it serve as a reference for what-ever-the-hell is going on in our country right now regarding our loss of freedom of choice and individuality.

  3. rachete - March 10, 2009

    I like your blog!

  4. Greg Roberts - March 12, 2009

    As an American living in France since 2002, I can understand the fear that the French have of the binge drinking culture of the UK arriving here. However, the anti-alcohol lobby in France has clearly overreached on an industry that generates 5.6 billion euros of export revenues to the French economy. Now that the industry has asserted themselves maybe they can get the drunk driving limits raised from .05.

  5. Daniel Morris - August 10, 2009

    While we’re talking about health and wine, thought I’d post a link to this graphic that shows the chemical composition of wine. Looked interesting and thought you’d enjoy it!

  6. pink bailey bow uggs ebay 270 - December 7, 2013

    Fashion Trends for Women in Winter cheap ugg Women
    pink bailey bow uggs ebay 270 http://www.loftphoto.cn/wp/?p=pink-bailey-bow-uggs-ebay-270.html

  7. ugg boots uk store 744 - December 7, 2013

    ugg shoes Grey Locarno Soldes.Livraison Free! Direct Manufacturer cheap Canada Goose Cheap discount up to 60%.
    ugg boots uk store 744 http://www.freightindiapackersandmovers.com/?p=ugg-boots-uk-store-744.html

  8. ugg boots sale clearance australia 906 - December 7, 2013

    Cheap ugg, ugg Sales Men & Women 2013 cheap ugg boots, ugg Sale Women In France
    ugg boots sale clearance australia 906 http://www.artisanhouse.in/?p=ugg-boots-sale-clearance-australia-906.html

  9. cheap ugg hiking boots 755 - December 7, 2013

    Hot Sale Coats ugg sale ugg Jacket for Women – Cloakroom Collective
    cheap ugg hiking boots 755 http://clarks-shoes-sale.com/?p=cheap-ugg-hiking-boots-755.html

  10. ugg australia uk xmas sale 519 - December 10, 2013

    cheap ugg cheap ugg cheap Sale, 69% off ugg Women & Men, Ugg Outlet, Ugg Official Website

  11. cheap nfl jerseys discount 6626 - December 10, 2013

    Cheap nfl jerseys – Official Site cheap nfl jerseys Cheap Men & Women Online France

Leave a Reply