Bordeaux schools are continuing with their vine cycle education programmes for primary schools - despite the recent spate of anti-alcohol publicity.
The recent ramping up of constraints on alcohol publicity in France has led to successful prosecutions against Moet & Chandon, Heineken, Le Parisien newspaper, and a French restaurant chain, for encouraging the consumption of alcoholic drinks beyond the limits of the law.
In the current climate, any mention of an alcoholic drink can be construed as advertising. One national paper now puts a government health warning on articles about wine.
The school educational kits, entitled ‘Le cahier du grain de raisin’ (The book of grapes), are produced by the Conseil Interprofessionnel du Vin de Bordeaux (CIVB).
Since the beginning of the school year in September 2007 the CIVB has sent them to about 600 primary classes, reaching more than 13,500 students aged between six and 11.
Anne Marbot of the CIVB said they were reacting to demand, and that the kits are delivered only to schools that request them.
‘In the Gironde the tradition has been to bring school children to a chateau at harvest time, and we had a demand from the schools for teaching material to accompany that,’ she said.
Developed in conjunction with the national education service, the kits contain a student book, a teacher’s guide and posters for the classroom.
Topics covered include the history of the vineyards, the harvest, winemaking, and different professions associated with wine.
The books could not be construed as alcohol publicity, Marbot said. ‘The emphasis is not on wine, but on the cycle of the vine and viticulture, in accordance with the national programme of natural science.’
She added, ‘We have to be reasonable about this. It is our heritage.’
Written by Sophie Kevany in Bordeaux