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Bordeaux must fight anti-alcohol lobby

Bordeaux winemakers should turn up the pressure against the anti-alcohol menace in France, says an alcohol industry lobbyist.

‘This directly concerns all of us,’ said Marie-Christine Tarby, president of alcohol lobby group Vin & Société, reiterating her group’s cause at the Bordeaux Wine Bureau’s annual general meeting last week.

’We are in an absurd situation where we have to defend the place of wine in French society.’

Lambasting the recent threats to the industry from anti-alcohol groups, Tarby noted in particular the rulings against newspaper editorials and websites – such as Heineken – that mention alcohol.

Tarby called for an update of the 1991 Evin Law which governs alcohol advertising. She currently is visiting wine bodies around France to inform them of the gravity of the current situation.

An open letter to President Sarkozy will demand that he support the inclusion of websites in the allowed list of alcohol publicity outlets, and that he do more to protect one of France’s oldest and most important industries.

She added that it is essential also to keep the current legal drink/drive limit of 0.5g per litre.

‘If this goes to zero,’ she said, ‘wine service in restaurants will be in grave danger.’

Allan Sichel, president of the Bordeaux négociant’s union, cautioned that it was important to work together.

‘We must not each present individual arguments to the government, but get behind Vin & Société to argue with one voice.’

Reflecting the growing national obsession with this topic, the Ecole Superieur de Commerce Dijon-Bourgogne – a Burgundy business school – has created a new academic post to teach students about the medical implications of marketing of food and beverages, including alcohol.

Written by Jane Anson

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