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France’s anti-alcohol lobby forces Rhone wine body to change advert slogan

Cotes du Rhone winemakers are the latest to fall foul of France's anti-alcohol lobby after being ordered to change the slogan on an advertising campaign, but a court ruled the advert's image could remain.

The advert for Cotes du Rhone wines, without the offending slogan.

An advert for Rhone wines depicting a man holding a red balloon with the slogan ‘au gout de la vie’ – a taste for life – contravened French laws on alcohol marketing, according to a national alliance of health professionals and campaigners against alcohol and drug abuse, known as ANPAA.

It said that the advert, launched in October, linked alcohol and happiness, which is illegal under France’s Evin law.

The case is the latest in series of skirmishes between ANPAA and France’s wine industry, as the government considers introducing new health laws.

Regional wine body Inter Rhone claimed a partial victory after the Tribunal de Grand Instance in Paris ruled on 7 January that it could still use the image in its advert campaign. But, the court said the slogan must change.

‘We may use the image without any slogan, or come up with something new, it is still under discussion,’ Arnaud Pignol, general director of Inter Rhone, told Decanter.com. If a new slogan is chosen, it is likely to be released this spring.

‘We see this judgment as progress within the current climate, even if it is not perfect,’ Pignol said. ‘The judge was balanced, and looked at the two parts of the campaign separately. But it shows that the Evin Law is still very tightly and strictly applied, and that there remains much work to be done.’

ANPAA has 15 days to appeal the ruling.

In late 2014, ANPAA lost a similar case against an advertising campaign for Bordeaux wine, after a nine-year legal fight.

Late last year, a lobby group supported by winemakers and set up to combat ANPAA’s influence, Vin & Societe, criticised the government for not proposing a debate on the Evin law as part of plans for a new health bill.

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Written by Jane Anson

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