French ministers have voted in favour of amending the law to allow wine advertising on TV and at sporting events.

The Senat (the upper house of the French Parliament) approved the measure last Wednesday. If adopted by the Assemblee National (the lower house) the Evin Law of 1991 will be amended to allow AOC wines to be advertised

The Evin Law, introduced in 1991, banned drinks advertising in certain media. It has always been highly controversial.

‘(Wine) consumption in restaurants is down by 15-20% from 2003,’ the amendment said. ‘The wine industry today finds itself penalised by the campaign against excessive alcohol consumption.’

Wine lobby group ‘Vin et Societe’ called the move ‘responsible’, but campaigners against alcoholism wrote to Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin to say they were concerned the amendment could result in a dismantling of the Evin law.

Raffarin said earlier this year the wine sector needed more scope to improve its marketing.

Written by Adam Lechmere, and agencies