French deputies propose change in wine law

Evin Bordeaux Burgundy CIVB BIVB News Wine News
  • Friday 16 April 2004

Left and Right-wing ministers have asked the French government to consider removing wine from certain clauses in the strict Evin law.

Both the PS (Socialist Party) and the UMP (the right-wing Union for a Popular Movement) have presented bills to exclude wine from the Evin law which governs the advertising of alcohol and tobacoo. The law has already been used by the ANPA (National Association for the Prevention of Alcoholism) to ban two adverts by the Bordeaux and Burgundy wine trade bodies.

French newspaper Le Figaro claims that the move by the two parties is a ‘sacred union…a cause that seems to transcend traditional political divisions.’

‘When you are the elected representative of a viticultural constituency, you cannot let the professionals in this sector sink deeper and deeper into crisis without acting. The resources and jobs of entire regions depend on it,’ UMP minister Thierry Mariani told Le Figaro.

The two proposals take their cue from an original bill drafted by PS deputy Roland Courteau and 23 others back in February 2004, which asks that wine advertising be considered ‘not as inciting more consumption but more an initiation to discover.’

The UMP bill proposes that wine be excluded from the Evin law when involved in promotion, sponsorship, indirect publicity and certain aspects of publicity content.

The ANPA defended its position and refused to back the UMP bill.

‘You have to understand that in France wine represents 60% of pure alcohol consumption. Some of these ministers will have a heavy responsibility to bear in the future. We are not prohibitionists, we are trying to find a balance,’ said Patrick Elineau, director of the ANPA.

Xavier Carreau, head of the umbrella group Vin et Société is not optimistic regarding the outcome of the bills.

‘I think they are going in the right direction, but I fear that it will not lead to anything. We are currently holding work groups to study the problem from many angles and we will present a white paper to the prime minister by the end of June,’ he said.

The bans, increased foreign competition and the current crisis in French wine are considered to be the main reasons for this cross-party move. This week saw 300 wine professionals meet in Bordeaux to discuss ripping up vineyards and a more centralised control over the way Bordeaux wine is stocked and labelled.

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