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How Much Longer Must French Wine Suffer?

There are stupid, corrupt, and morally righteous politicians everywhere. Americans need look no farther than their own legislators for proof of that. Just ask the folks in Illinois, who, thanks to some heavy lobbying by the state's liquor wholesalers with hefty donations to key representatives, will no longer be able to buy wine from anyone outside of their state on June 1st.

But no matter how much it sucks to be a wine lover in Chicago right now, the folks there are certainly in better shape than the French, who continue to suffer under the most asinine set of laws relating to the advertising and marketing of wine that you could possible imagine.

The latest setback for France occurred recently, as Microsoft AdCenter caved to political pressure and removed all wine advertising from its servers, scared, no doubt, of running afoul of a legislative re-interpretation of a set of laws passed in the early 1990's that effectively outlawed wine and spirits advertising.

This latest action represents only one more in a series of indignities that the wine drinking public in France has had to suffer at the hands of an increasingly strident and powerful anti-alcohol lobby and their legislative toadies. Recently, these same folks were responsible for the utterly idiotic requirement that any news article about wine carry the same governmental health warning that the actual bottle must display.

Is it any wonder that the younger generations of France are not only drinking less wine every year and they actually consider wine to be old fashioned and too expensive? While international demand for $3000 bottles of Bordeaux seems to be rather constant, the bulk of France's wine industry (namely the portion that is drunk by its citizens on a daily basis) is headed for a very bad future.

Sarkozy came to office proclaiming that he'd make reforms in the wine industry, but so far, none have been forthcoming.

So I ask you, wine lovers of the world and people of France: how long must France suffer? What is it going to take before winemakers are free to make the best wine they can; before Burgundy can suggest its wine is feminine without legal action; before a journalist can say that wine makes you feel good without risking the wrath of some government censor?

France needs another revolution. And America probably does too. To corrupt a little Shakespeare: "First thing we do, let's kill all the lobbyists."

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The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson Wine Grapes The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson to cork or not to cork by George Taber reading between the vines by Terry Theise adventures on the wine route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud