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Raise a Fist for French Wine: Vive la France!

Solidarity, people. That's what I'm talking about.

The winegrowers of France are outraged. So what else is new? But for once, I'm with them. If I were in France I'd be marching in the streets, arm in arm. Because instead of protesting the lack of subsidies for wine, or screaming about plans to tear out more vineyards, or blowing up buildings to try and raise the price of wine, French winemakers have finally gotten outraged at the right people for the right reasons.

Of course, there's no word yet about whether CRAV is actually on board with this particular wave of indignation, but with or without the radical wing of the French winemaking industry, people are pissed and aren't going to take it anymore. And I'm right there with them.

In short:
the winemakers of France are promising large demonstrations against the French government's inane plans to ban all advertising or showcasing of wine on the Internet. Apparently, the puritanical anti-alcohol lobby in France is about as powerful as the pharmaceutical lobby in the United States.

If I were a better global citizen or a better journalist, I might be able to tell you exactly who these crusading neo-prohibitionist zealots were, but I don't know. All I know is that they've got French lawmakers wrapped around their sinister little claws, so all they have to do is murmur a little something, and the legislature does their bidding like a little lapdog.

It's sickening that the country that brought us the Enlightenment, and that still brings us Condrieu and Corton could be contemplating such backward policies. The proposed increase of taxes by 15% on French wine, coupled with the inability to promote wine in any way on the Internet (which includes even having a winery web site, as I understand it), may do serious damage to an industry that's seriously struggling -- both against a tide of global competition, as well as the erosion of local consumption (the French have been drinking less wine each year for more than a decade).

Times are tough all over the world at the moment, at least for those with the luxury of stock markets and so called "modern" financial systems. But if you have the energy, please muster a little outrage on behalf of our French brethren. Knock back a glass of Chablis, and yell something out your window.

Or, if you happen to be French, or are merely living in France, go carry a sign for me and shout degrading things at government buildings. I'll be eternally grateful.

Read the full story.

Comments (9)

Katie wrote:
10.13.08 at 11:02 AM

Alder, I was commenting on this today on Asimov's blog...it's insane, but what it basically is, is the Americanization of Europe. As I mentioned there, it started with fast food and such, and now they've even taken up our philosophy of fear. I used to admire the Europeans for not admonishing a pregnant woman having a glass of wine, but I'm soon it won't be long for that as well.

Arnaud H wrote:
10.13.08 at 2:19 PM

Go vignerons!

Anonymous wrote:
10.13.08 at 4:57 PM

Maybe protesting for subsidies while overproducing cheap uncompetitive wine and blowing up buildings isn't the way to make friends or garner sympathy. The proposed 15% increase on their 2p tax on a bottle of wine to help close a multi-billion dollar shortfall in government supplied health care and social security isn't the Americanization of Europe, it is a window into what we can expect ourselves in the near future after we socialize health care.

Anonymous wrote:
10.14.08 at 3:39 PM

Here's a website which outlines the history behind the law in question "La Loi Evin". One thing to bear in mind when reading this piece is that is was written by Dr. Alain Regaudm the head of ANPAA, the organization responsible for the lawsuits which have resulted in the ludicrous situation.

Dylan wrote:
10.14.08 at 6:35 PM

I read about this the other day on The Pour. It was alluded that these laws were the government's reaction to alcohol related deaths, but I'm not familiar with the numbers and how wine relates to this.

Whatever it is, it smells off. I can't seem to understand how a drink that brings so many people together is now creating a rift.

P.S.-that article about Millennial wine drinkers was very interesting.

hamishwm wrote:
10.15.08 at 1:15 AM

Being a Brit living in the sunny South of France I have got used to some of the ludicrous laws that seem to come from Paris(President Stircrazy is teetotal by the way). France is a magnificent, beautiful and romantic country with amazing cultural heritage and selectively lovely people! I work with some great producers in Sud de France as well as up in Bordeaux. These laws (if they get passed) are another aspect to denigrate the wine producers. My kids attend a French school where their theme for this school year is French Heritage. At this rate there will not be a French wine industry to shout about. Surely that should be one of the key aspects of a proud heritage.

Iris wrote:
10.22.08 at 1:22 AM

Katie: they've done it: we are obliged to put the picture of the silhouette of a pregnant woman barred with a red stripe - like on the traffic signs - on our bottles since 2006...together with the sulfite warning and others to come.

The only thing we don't yet have to communicate are the pesticide residues resulting from vineyard treatments - the chemical industries lobby seems to be still stronger than the alcohol lobby when it comes to public health...

Katie wrote:
10.22.08 at 7:08 AM

Iris...I wrote about the scare tactics used by this government in regards to food/wine on my blog a while back...it saddens me that it is happening in Europe as well. Bonne chance!!

randulo wrote:
10.31.08 at 1:24 AM

Here's a photo of yesterday's protest


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