Text Size:-+
02.20.2009

We Need Another French Revolution

france_delacroix.jpgMy beloved Gallic friends: you've done it once before, and now it is time again to rise up and overthrow the tyrannical laws that threaten to hobble your future. France is in danger and she needs her people to join together and walk the path of righteousness instead of descending into evil.

We all knew President Sarkozy was a teetotaler before he was elected. But one of the planks of his platform for election was to be the reform of the ailing wine industry. And, indeed, the government took some steps in the right direction at one point, though there were many more stumbles.

But now, in what might charitably be described as a fit of madness or perhaps more accurately described as a lapse into evil, the French government has begun to articulate a policy that actually discourages its citizens from drinking wine (or any alcohol for that matter).

With wine consumption in France already at dangerously historic lows, telling people to not drink wine strikes me as insane as the American government telling its citizens to stop shopping in this depression.

It looked for a while like the French Government might just be incompetent, or at worst under the influence of some puritanical anti-alcohol lobby. But now the truth is clear. The government has been taken over by some puritanical anti-alcohol lobby.

My friends, take it from us Americans, you really don't want to live in a country without alcohol. It's been 75 years since we learned our lesson, but we're still dealing with the aftermath of Prohibition.

So here's what I want to see. I want a topless Sophie Marceau or Juliette Binoche hauling a French flag, broken wine bottles underfoot and the streets running with wine, as dark crowds of citizens, corkscrews in hand, storm the palaces and parliaments with righteous anger. Find the people who threaten your republic, and run them out of town!

You helped us with our revolution, let us know how we can help you with yours. Vive la France!

Read the full (sad) story.

Thanks to Arthur at Redwinebuzz.com for the tipoff on this story.

Comments (11)

Hank wrote:
02.21.09 at 7:38 AM

What a load of crap! Cancer rates are (supposedly) on the rise in France and wine is the sole cause? How about looking at the rise of pre-packaged, processed foods?

Look - cancer is the natural endgame of the human organism. If you live long enough, without contracting any other disease, you will die of cancer. So what? At least those of us smart enough to drink some wine will enjoy ourselves!

My message to the French: wine drinker or not, you're still going to die anyway. Get over it.

02.21.09 at 7:43 AM

Very interesting and shocking research. I think it warrants further looking into. We all wish this were not true, but let us try to get some facts before screaming bloody murder and calling for revolution... At the very least, sounds like an amazing PR stunt, if nothing else, by the French.

Morton Leslie wrote:
02.21.09 at 8:37 AM

In the period 1980 to 2000 the incidence rate of cancer in France increased by 63% going from 170,000 new cases to 278,000. During the same time period French wine consumption dropped from about 90 liters to 57 liters. So we can see there is definitely a connection to wine consumption and cancer in France. Interesting how the French government interprets these data.

Dylan wrote:
02.21.09 at 8:36 PM

Taken from the linked article: "A single glass of wine per day will raise the chance of contracting cancer by up to 168 per cent, claims the ministry’s brochure."

That's a highly serious claim to make, especially against, as you mentioned, an already ailing industry. The article didn't let on much about the studies and direct correlation between cancer increase and wine consumption. For one, I hope that this causal effect is not true, but for the sake of those putting out this information they better hope they are right on target. Otherwise, there's more problems going on than what wine will (supposedly) do to you.

Arthur wrote:
02.22.09 at 9:28 AM
02.22.09 at 10:48 AM

Arthur, thanks for the link. I think the author makes good points - I was thinking about those as well, as I am preparing the expand my editorial on this subject on my yesterday's blog post. It's about balance and common sense. Wine clearly has positive impact on some aspects of our health, like heart. It also appears that it increases chances of certain types of cancer. Like pretty much all drugs, it has positives and negatives. For people reading this blog, I presume the positives far outweigh the negatives. I am one of those people. Some may think that smoking was as accepted a few decades ago as wine is today, and when the first studies came out, the tabacco industry were up in arms just like the wine industry is reacting now. But I would submit to you that smoking has been conclusively proven to do vastly more harm than good. Wine is completely different.

02.22.09 at 10:54 AM

My second point is that the same research accuses red meat and salt as increasing chance of cancer. Are people going to stop eating those - not a chance! Gets back to moderation.

Thirdly, I spoke to a doctor about it yesterday - her point was that how you consume wine depends on your genetics. If you have family history of certain types of cancer, then you should be more moderate in your alcohol (not specifically wine) consumption. On the other hand, if you have a genetic pre-disposition to heart problems or old-age dementia, then you should drink wine as the French do.

Arthur wrote:
02.22.09 at 11:13 AM

The main issue I have with this story is that nobody is drilling any deeper than to say that Sarkozy's abstinence is driving this trend.
This is absurd, ludicrous.

02.22.09 at 11:29 AM

Agreed. Look forward to your analysis. However, simplistic or ludicrous though it may seem, if the French president enjoyed wine, it's hard to imagine that the news would have been delivered in such apparently unceremonious and unconditional manner. We need reactions from the French.

John Skupny wrote:
02.23.09 at 11:49 AM

Mon Dieu!
"Let them eat high fructose corn syrup"
Sophie would be my choice!

peter w wrote:
03.06.09 at 10:10 AM

They are referring to the incidence or oral squamous cell carcinoma. Vitually unheard of in the general population (so a VERY VERY low base) but when you add alcohol and particularly cigarettes to the equation, then you have some cancer occurring.
The incidence rises exponentially (again off a very low base) when the amount of alcohol and tobacco increase.

Typical bureaucratic misinformation. This stems from Sarkozy trying to rein in the medical spend. Any tenuous relationship to any medical condition must be investigated. "Here you and your 2000 friends over there... go find something"

But like most things french, they will announce an intention to do something, take an inordinate time to discuss it, dilute the law so that it does something completely different and then announce that it is not enforceable.

Comment on this entry

(will not be published)
(optional -- Google will not follow)
Yes
 

Type the characters you see in the picture above.

Buy My Book!

small_final_covershot_dropshadow.jpg A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. Learn more.

Follow Me On:

Twitter Facebook Pinterest Instagram Delectable Flipboard

Most Recent Entries

Vinography Images: Divine Droplets Bay Area Bordeaux: Tasting Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernets US 2014 Vintage - Early, Fast, Eventful Vinography Images: Big Shadow Come Explore The Essence of Wine with Me in Healdsburg: October 30th, 2014 Vinography Unboxed: Week of October 5, 2014 Another Idiotic California Law Screws Wineries Vinography Images: Vineyard Reflections The Fake Tongue Illusion and Wine Tasting 2014 Wine & Spirits Top 100 Tasting: October 21, San Francisco

Favorite Posts From the Archives

Masuizumi Junmai Daiginjo, Toyama Prefecture Wine.Com Gives Retailers (and Consumers) the Finger 1961 Hospices de Beaune Emile Chandesais, Burgundy Wine Over Time The Better Half of My Palate 1999 Királyudvar "Lapis" Tokaji Furmint, Hungary What's Allowed in Your Wine and Winemaking Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Appreciating Wine in Context The Soul vs. The Market 1989 Fiorano Botte 48 Semillion,Italy

Archives by Month

 

Required Reading for Wine Lovers

The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud 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 World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson The World's Greatest Wine Estates by Robert M. Parker, Jr.