FRANCE (Paris) - After various debates over the weekend, the French National Assembly finally managed to allow commercials for alcohol on the internet, particularly about wine (we reported). The Senate's yes is still required, however, there is no doubt in the country that the Senate will not approve it. Thus, the French wine & spirits industry has achieved an epochal victory.
Roselyne Bachelot, the French minister for health, pointed out that this decision did in fact not loosen the Evin-law; rather, the government accepted the reality of the internet era.
In the course of this desired breakthrough in terms of the Evin-Gesetz, there are now further restrictions. For example the "All you can drink" event, which is very common in many bars and bistros, will remain prohibited. No alcohol is to be sold at gas stations after 6PM. Also the minimum age for purchase of wine will be increased from 16 to 18.
On the contrary, traditional tastings in the chateaus, professional tastings at wine fairs and wine fests will remain permitted. Advocates of the French wine-lobby do not regard these decisions a victory of the anti-alcohol-movement but rather define the results as some sort of balancing.
"Nevertheless we are very relieved", says Aymeric Fournier, manager and responsible for communications at Les Vignobles Despagne, one of the most successful producers in the Entre-Deux-Mers region in the Bordeaux. 2We know that the internet is the future. This medium offers us an effective communication and it is affordable for every wine maker. For example more than 4000 people visit our website per month.2
"Wine tourism and wine enjoyment are elemental factors in French wine-growing regions", Fournier points out and adds: "The visit and tasting of wine at the chateaus has its roots in our daily business. The law of Bachelot would have prohibited both, it was almost like we were stabbed in the back by our own people."
"How credible would we be in and outside France in supporting and rating our wines, if this was prohibited in our own country?", says Allan Sichel from Chateau Maison Sichel and exporter of Palmer and adds: "Prohibiting professional wine tasting at our chateaus or at wine fairs would have been totally pointless and would have led to an economic catastrophe."
A gasp of relief is what is going on throughout the French wine and spirits industry now. We will continue to report. (aw.yoopress)