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10.12.2008

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.

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