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04.30.2010

Wine and the Internet in France

I've often decried the pig-headed idiocy of the French government in its persistent cowing to the lobbying interests of puritanical organizations like National Association for Prevention in Alcoholism and Addiction. Here in America, corporations have our government in their pockets. In France, it's the anti-alcohol zealots, who nearly succeeded in getting the government to ban web sites about wine from the internet (thankfully, some common sense prevailed).

And people wonder why per capita wine consumption has plummeted by 50% in France over the past decade according to some sources?

Consequently, I was quite intrigued to read a study that was recently sent to me by an organization called SOWINE, which polled over a thousand French citizens ages 18 to 65 on about their information consumption habits when it comes to wine.

Here are some of the results that the French government should really be paying attention to:

70% of consumers think wine should be treated differently than other alcohol.

63% of consumers think of themselves as "neophytes" when it comes to wine.

But 61% think that some level of knowledge is important to appreciate wine, and 78% believe it is important do do research before buying (14% currently use the Internet to do that research).

Roughly 28% of the population reads blogs or bulletin boards, and of the population that do, roughly 21% read blogs about wine.

Twice as many people use the Internet than print media when it comes to researching wine (though the vast majority report relying on friends and retailer recommendations as their primary source of advice).

60% percent of the people who do research about wine online end up buying.

In the face of such data, it's quite surprising that a country that depends so heavily, both economically and culturally on wine would still be debating a topic like, say, whether there ought to be wine appreciation classes available for college students (who can all drink legally by the time they get there at age 18).

Those against such classes suggest that it will lead to binge drinking, which is as reactionary as people suggesting that teaching football in American schools will lead to an epidemic of concussions.

Hopefully, intelligence will eventually prevail against ideology, but the track record of the French government when it comes to wine isn't particularly encouraging.

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