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Wine ‘publicity’ on web still illegal in France

Promoting wine in any way on the internet is still illegal in France after a Senate vote.

The Senate failed to pass the amendment legalising the internet as a medium for alcohol publicity.

The amendment was voted out principally on the grounds that it did not include the results of a government working group which had been appointed to study alcohol on the internet. The report was not yet available.

It was also rejected because it proposed a new definition of the word ‘publicity’. This was aimed at clearing up confusion over whether writing about wine in an editorial context can be considered advertising.

‘Monsieur César [the senator who proposed the amendment] wanted “publicity” defined as “the buying of space” but this would be too dangerous,’ said Alain Rigaud of the ANPAA, a national anti-alcoholism association, and a member of the working group along with Senator César.

Rigaud said it was clear that promoting wine on the internet needed to be legalised for certain situations, notably for small wine producers, but it needed to be done in a more organised way.

It is hoped the revised amendment, including the results of the working group, will be presented by September or October.

The timing of the proposal was also sensitive, coming in the midst of announcements on legal reforms to prevent binge drinking and alcohol sales to minors, and the death of an 18-year-old after a night out to celebrate his exams.

  • The French government is to launch the country’s first ever anti-binge drinking campaign on Friday (18 July).

    It will run on TV, radio and in cinemas and feature adolescents enjoying a ‘paradise-like universe’, which turns into a nightmare after they drink too much.

    Written by Sophie Kevany in Paris

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