A Prohibitionary Moment est passe´
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.