FRANCE (Paris) - For weeks, French politicians, vintagers and also the public have been fighting about the intended ban on the free giveaway of wine. Now the French wine industry is preparing for an awkward weekend since the government has intensified the discussion about certain restrictions, due to the controversial health care issue. Thus very unpleasant laws could follow.
The responsible caucuses are currently discussing amendments, namely those concerning the wine industry. This discussion is mainly about two articles of a statue, which would bring severe changes if the French government chose to implement them.
Article 23 would provide for the total ban on commercials of wine in connection with links to wine websites. Even before the start of this discussion, it was very hard for the wine industry to remain active in the commercial business online. As a result, one of the main internet providers like Orange, is turning down all commercial requests of vintagers and wine dealers.
Article 24 would provide for the total ban on the unlimited free giveaway of wine. This would particularly affect wine tastings in the chateaus but also tastings at wine fairs, seminars and also wine presentations at international events. French caterers would also be affected, since they would no more be able to offer the "Vin Compris" (Wine Inclusive), which is so very popular in French restaurants.
In the course of this awkward discussion, the French wine industry is currently so sensitive and excited that it can hardly believe any good news like for example the statement of the French health minister Roselyne Bachelot, who said this week in an interview: "I do not intend to ban wine tastings or wine fests. After all, they represent our way of life and the French wine culture"; she added: "My first draft does not go against the wine industry, but merely against the abuse of alcohol. In terms of articles 23 and 24, the draft will be revised on short notice."
Marie Christine Tarby, chairwoman of the group Vin et Societe, also expressed her hopes: "A ban is not a solution. However, we have noticed positive signs which would mean that free wine tastings in connection with the profession of a vintager will remain unrestrained." She added: "Now we are fighting against the planned restrictions of wine commercials on the internet. I have sent a personal letter to the cabinet in which I explained our arguments once more".
Seemingly involuntarily, the French institute for agricultural research, is now interfering with this discussion. According to media reports, there is a plan to publish a long-term survey, which shows that drinking up to three glasses of wine a day is questionable in terms of health. Well that makes us ask ourselves: Is wine healthy or not? We will continue to report. (aw-yoopress)