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French think wine is unhealthy, survey says

Over half the French population believes wine poses a health risk, a French survey says.

In a study released last week by Credoc (a research centre that examines the lifestyle habits of the nation), 51% of respondents placed wine second in a list of ‘risky products’. Only charcuterie was deemed riskier.

’The problem is today’s young consumers are being misinformed by the anti-alcohol lobby about the benefits of wine drinking, and about the cultural role it plays in French life,’ Alain Vironneau, president of the CIVB (Bordeaux wine trade council), told decanter.com.

A press release described the ‘extraordinary’ rise in negative perceptions of wine since the last similar study in 2003, when only 26% of respondents considered it unhealthy.

The study also revealed that wine is increasingly associated – negatively – with ‘bourgeois’ habits, reflecting the ongoing decline of wine as an everyday drink. Of respondents who termed themselves ‘professional’, 61% said they drank wine regularly last year, compared with 40% of ‘staff’ and 46% of ‘manual workers’.

‘Just yesterday, wine was a symbol of French gastronomy, but now it is just seen as a type of alcohol like any other,’ said the press release from Credoc, which ascribed the volte-face to measures such as tighter drink driving controls, and obligatory labelling that warns women against drinking while pregnant.

By way of context, the World Wine and Vine Organisation (OIV) has announced that global wine production has been static since 2007, and that European production is at its lowest since 1991. Wine consumption, however, grew by 2m hectolitres in 2008 thanks to rising demand in Asian countries.

Written by Jane Anson

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