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The French Cycling Bicycle Gourmet - French Country Travel Life Film Maker and Author. Your non-snobby Gourmet Guide to food, wine travel and Lifestyle Adventure!

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French Country Travel Life Wine Sabotage



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?


L-R: A French anti-alcohol logo; a 1930 rugby-field banner: "Wine is a food, drink wine"; Olivier Magny at a tasting session

© 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.

But why?

“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.


L-R: The fall in wine consumption compared to the rise in tranquilizer sales; French anti-alcohol campaigns depict excess drinking

© 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.


What are ya thinkin’?


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22 Responses to “French Country Travel Life Wine Sabotage”

  1. alvin sims says:

    you seem to be on a roll with negative french wine news at the moment..

  2. grady martinson says:

    alvin..DA BG is tellin’ it like it is! (as he always does)…NOT as you imagine it to be.

  3. kalin endersly says:

    right on grady!

  4. ramon martinez says:

    great stuff…and bizarre..as only the french can do….imagine florida deciding orange juice was too acidic…..and followed the french “bashing our own” example!

  5. francis copeland says:

    i hear ya ramon!…..bizarre in the extreme!!!

  6. megan ambrose says:

    amazing how you keep coming up with all this new stuff about french wine….who knew?

  7. ellie brenner says:

    you got that right megan!…..without DA BG…we would have no clue about this!

  8. fenton denman says:

    double thanks mr BG!….for tis excellent post….and the video connecting us with it’s co-author.

  9. ian bennet says:

    completely illogical!…..not to mention economically disasterous!!
    a classic example of a country run by bureaucrats!!!

  10. tad sample says:

    exactly right ian….and let’s not forget the american -inspired contirbution of special interest lobbies!

  11. barry mcmaster says:

    i agree 110% with thomas jefferson!

  12. uno levi says:

    with ya there barry…..115%! (lol)

  13. alice mortenson says:

    the jefferson quote is great…..;but my favorite is count dracula
    “i never drink…….wine.” precious!

  14. carla stavers says:

    this is great , and unexpected info…..but then..i’ve come to expect the unexpected from “DA BG”

  15. hal davis says:

    less wine posts please!

  16. jack coleman says:

    hal..;so you’re a beer drinker?

  17. hal davis says:

    no jack….just a reader who’d like a little more variety in these posts

  18. jack coleman says:

    ok hal…got it….you’re an editor then?…..you want to tell DA BG
    what he should write?

  19. hal davis says:

    jack..that comment doesn’t deserve a response.

  20. jack coleman says:

    so hal…..why did you give me one? bottom line: if you’re so confused about yourself…how can you possibly be any help for DA BG?

  21. betty freeman says:

    jack/hal…..here’s a revolutionary idea……GET BACK ON TOPIC!

  22. valerie ranmis says:

    absolutely betty….this is no place for petty b.s.

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