French Country Travel Life Wine Sabotage is being committed by those whom you would think would be promoting the famous fermented juice.
Namely – the French Government. This strange, shall we say,” phenomenon” of “wine scare tactics” in the name of “responsible drinking” is something that has not escaped the eagle eyes of DA BG.
And happily, Sommelier Olivier Mangy, proprietor of a trendy Paris wine bar has also dared to speak up and out.
Here’s his rant:
“I think it is a great error to consider a heavy tax on wines as a tax on luxury. On the contrary, it is a tax on the health of our citizens.” Thomas Jefferson
The French (anti-) wine propaganda
Since the seventies, the number of wineries in France has been divided by more than two. While many elements can explain this phenomenon, one of the most staggering ones is the fierce anti-wine propaganda led by the French authorities.
In 1991, the French parliament passed a law which made it illegal to advertise for wine through most main media channels. And in those where it remained possible, no mention was to ever be made regarding the fun or pleasure associated with wine.
Even better, since 1991, any time wine was to be mentioned publicly in France, the person talking was to remind everyone that “excess of alcohol is dangerous for your health”. Every single time. Trust me, it adds up and sure has brainwashed/pervaded the French’s mind. In the words of charismatic Alsatian winemaker Seppi Landmann, “since the nineties, the only way to have fun in France now is to scratch your own armpits”.
Since then, the anti-wine lobby has picked up even more speed. Its track record over the past decade speaks for itself: strong lobbying against online advertising for wine, full-on abstinence recommended to “combat alcoholism”, rigged figures, studies and reports fed to the press, wine presented as “carcinogenic from the very first glass”, logo of the pregnant woman imposed on every French wine label … With friends like France, wine culture surely doesn’t need enemies.
So while the rest of the world was growing more fond of a regular and moderate consumption of wine, celebrating its health benefits and its beautiful culture, the French government became the lone ranger of the anti-wine movement.
Consequences of this policy
“I never drink wine.” Count Dracula
This policy has had radical consequences. Over the past decades, France vastly ceased to be the country of good food and good wine everywhere. Only to become the fiercely hygienic place of a people that grew to eat poorly and drink seldom. Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?
© Ministry of Social Affairs/AFP/Olivier Magny | L-R: A French anti-alcohol logo; a 1930 rugby-field banner: “Wine is a food, drink wine”; Olivier Magny at a tasting session
Five wine facts you never suspected about France:
1) Percentage of French women who never drink wine: 45%
2) Percentage of the French population who drink wine every day or almost every day: 21%
3) Average budget spent on a bottle of red wine in France: $3.80 (i.e. 3€)
4) Percentage of still wines bought in France for less than €6/liter (that’s $5.60/btl): 91%
5) Younger French drink three times less wine than their elders
With the domestic market dwindling, the French wine industry took a big hit: the number of wineries crashed, so did the average consumption as well as the proportion of regular wine drinkers.
But besides these measurable elements, it is a vastly non-measurable one that is the most devastating: and that is the severe depletion of wine culture in France.
This set of new regulations triggered (much to the horror of every upper class Francophile raving about “the much more reasonable approach to drinking that the French have”) not only a massive surge in binge drinking habits amongst French youth but also a growing disinterest from wine from most French people.
“Lee, let me introduce you to Carter’s theory of criminal investigation: follow the rich white man.” Detective James Carter
Most people in the world would agree that wine is a fantastic asset for France, one generating wonders for the country in terms of image, tourism, employment, exports, etc. As such, any person with a hint of common sense would think the French government would stand 200% behind its wine industry. Unfortunately, it is not so.
To get to the bottom of the why and the how this could happen, I’m a partisan of checking who benefits from the crime: Cui Bono? So who benefits from a non-drinking people? Surely people cashing in on their subsequent moroseness.
© Gourmand Horizons/Ministry of Social Affairs | L-R: The fall in wine consumption compared to the rise in tranquilizer sales; French anti-alcohol campaigns depict excess drinking
France: from vino to tranquillizers
Since 1960, while domestic wine consumption crashed, France moved from consuming 0 to 134 million tablets of tranquilizers a year. With a prevalence of the depression rate that now reaches 10% of the population, and with 20% of the French consuming sleeping pills or antidepressants, this new anti-wine nation seems like a pretty sad little place.
Best part about it all: even though this strategy clearly serves private interests, it is generously funded with public money . France spends tens of millions every year to fight its own wine industry.
The good sides of the Americanization of France
When I started getting serious about wine, I would spend a lot of time at trade shows and wine tastings. I was always by far the youngest person out there. For two or three years now, I’ve started to observe that things are changing. More and more youngsters now come to these things.
Read More HERE.
THROW ME A BONE HERE,PEOPLE!
What are ya thinkin’?