No matter how bad you think you have it, there are other folks who have it worse than you. We American wine lovers like to bitch about what a royal pain it is to buy wine from out of state wineries and from internet merchants. In truth, it is a broken and corrupt system -- a perversion of the free market that enriches protectionist state governments and their wholesale lobbyists.
But it's not as broken as France.
Yes, this is another rant against the idiocy of the French government and their utterly astonishing tendency to ruin their own wine industry, one of the great contributions their culture has made to the world.
The French really seemed to be making progress for a while there. The overhaul of the AOC system that they passed earlier in the year was most definitely a step in the right direction.
But last week, a piece of legislation leaked to the press that proves that either:
1. The passing of the AOC reforms was just a brief bout of sanity from an otherwise completely out-of-touch parliament
2. The legislative branch of the French Government is in the pocket of anti-alcohol lobbyists
3. When it comes to understanding the Internet, Parliament is dumber than a bag of hammers
4. All of the above
The proposed legislation places alcohol in the same category as pornography when it comes to regulation on the Internet. This means that wine cannot be sold on the Internet (which is currently the case), and sites dealing with the promotion or marketing of wine for sale by anyone other than wineries themselves must be approved by the government, and can only be accessible during certain hours of the day.
I hardly know what to say in response to this.
I'm not sure if this is dumber than their last demonstration of their legislative incompetence when they passed a law requiring all articles about wine to carry the same health warnings as the bottles themselves. Regardless it is certainly more dangerous -- dangerous to the health of an industry that is struggling in the face of too many challenges to have its own parliament hamstring the ability for the wine industry to promote itself to the French people.
France needs another revolution. First thing we do, let's kill all the lobbyists.
A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. Learn more.
Warm Up: The North Fork of Long Island I'll Drink to That: Kareem Massoud of Paumanok Vineyards 2015 Family Winemakers Tasting: August 16, San Francisco I'll Drink to That: Ryan Looper of T. Edward Wines Lost Treasures in the Sierra Foothills: The Wines of Renaissance Vineyards Warm Up: The Wachau I'll Drink to That: Leo Alzinger of Weingut Alzinger Petaluma Gap Wine Tasting: August 8th, Petaluma, CA I'll Drink to That: Monica Samuels of Vine Connections Vinography Images: Cool Climate Chardonnay
Wine Will Never Smell the Same Again: Luca Turin and the Science of Scent Forlorn Hope: The Remarkable Wines of Matthew Rorick Debating Robert Parker At His Invitation Passopisciaro Winery, Etna, Sicily: Current Releases Should We Care What Winemakers Say? The Sweet Taste of Freedom: Austria's Ruster Ausbruch Wines 2009 Burgundy Vintage According to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Charles Banks: The New Man Behind Mayacamas Wine from the Caldera: The Incredible Viticulture of Santorini Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Chateau Rayas and the 2012 Vintage of Chateauneuf-du-Pape A Life Indomitable: The Wines of Casal Santa Maria, Portugal Bay Area Bordeaux: Tasting Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernets Forgotten Jewels: Reviving Chile's Old Vine Carignane The First-Timer's Guide to Les Trois Glorieuses of Hospices de Beaune