The French can relax now!

Legislation before the French parliament to ban cellar door tastings overturned

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A storm over Sablet, Dentelles wine region, France

A storm over Sablet, Dentelles wine region, France [©Nick Sweet]

The French wine industry and visitors to the home of wine can relax - cellar door sales and wine tastings remain legal.

Legislation before the French parliament to ban cellar door and promotional wine tastings has been overturned, and the bill amended. A victory for common sense and the French way of life. Hurrah.


Our previous prelude to this momentous decision for the French wine industry (February 2009):

Recent research published in the UK (February 09) which links consumption of any form of alcohol with an increase in the chance of contracting cancer - neglecting the positive effect of red wine in particular in reducing the chance of coronary diseases and improving male potency (not to mention the general personal and social wellbeing gained by responsible consumption of alcohol in a convivial setting) - has been used by the teetotal President Nicolas Sarkozy to coninue to push what appears to be a personal barrow. Also included are happy hours and drinking games. Killjoys indeed - will the suicide rate now climb and the birthrate fall?

Quite how this is being received by the iconic wine industry can only be imagined. Last October, hundreds of French winegrowers staged rallies against the plans, claiming that this would effectively kill off their industry, already struggling against overseas competition. The sector directly employs over 300,000 people and indirectly perhaps five times more.

As one of the pillars of Brand France and its massive tourism industry, not to mention its role in the culture and formation of the nation, French wine surely deserves more respect and consideration. If Sarkozy were vegan, would he ban cheeses? After all, they might contain salmonella, especially those deliciously naughty little French cheeses made with - gulp! - unpasteurised milk.

And what about that celebratory Champagne being sprayed by winners of the Tour de France? So wasteful...

Prohibition didn't work in America. Neither will binge drinking amonst the young be curbed by banning cellar door tastings, hardly the location (or the beverage) for youthful excesses.  Sure, the French might need better drink-driving legislation, but the winners will be Italy, Spain and Portugal, and further afield, the Napa Valley, South Africa, New Zealand..... and Australia.

Dom Perignon and Madame Cliquot must be turning in their graves.


  • France - all (FR)

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March 19th, 2009
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