France's highest lawmaking body has rejected plans to soften the controversial Evin Law, which governs wine publicity, but campaigners have vowed to fight on.
The Constitutional Council rejected an amendment to the Evin Law that had been backed by Parliament and was intended to give educational bodies and wine tourism operators more freedom to market themselves.
It is the latest twist in an increasingly fierce dispute in France over what should be considered wine marketing and how strict rules should be.
An amendment to the present rules was proposed as part of the Marcron Law, designed to stimulate the French economy, but the council said linking the two areas of policy was not appropriate.
Gilles Savary, a local politician in Bordeaux, said the council ‘has misunderstood the social and economic impact of wine tourism on the French economy’.
Wine trade lobbying group Vins et Societé said it would continue to press president Francois Hollande on the issue.
‘The constitutional council has the last word in France,’ Arnaud Terrisson, public affairs manager at Vins et Societé told Decanter.com. ‘It was not criticising the text of the amendment, rather its relevance to this particular set of laws. We are asking president Hollande to respect his engagement to the wine industry and resubmit the clarification as soon as possible.’
Supporters of the amendment said that, if passed, educational informtation relating to the culture, gastronomy and geography around alcoholic beverages would not be at risk of breaking the law, as it is considered to be now.
France’s Evin Law – or Loi Evin – was first introduced in 1991 to regulate alcohol publicity. But, revisions and recent test cases in the courts have led to several journalists accusing the French government of being ‘anti-wine’.
Editing by Chris Mercer