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Wednesday, 17 December 2014

French Prohibitionists Aim to Spoil the Wine Party!



An anti-alcohol group in France could make the country an international laughing stock by demanding ridiculous limitations on wine marketing.


Lobbyists from ANPAA, an organization described by French magazine Le Point as "prohibitionist", have their sights set on altering the country's laws to prohibit any reference to enjoyment of wine on any publicity and that may include wine labels.

As part of a major review to the laws on health in France, L'Association nationale de prévention en alcoologie et addictologie (The national association for the prevention of alcoholism and addiction or ANPAA) is pressing for changes to the notorious Loi Evin (the Evin Law) introduced in 1991 to restrict alcohol advertising.

Jacques Dupont writes in France's Le Point magazine that the publication has uncovered documentation from ANPAA submitted to the lawmakers working on possible amendments to the Loi Evin, which the writer described as laughable. Among other submissions, they recommend that the law is changed to forbid labeling of any brand with names such as Cuvée Plaisir.

All reference to pleasure linked with wine could be banned. Up to now the law has applied to posters and publicity but, in future, Dupont suggests it could apply to labels. This would mean that a back label could not even make reference to the suitability of a particular food match.
In October, when the Rhône Valley's industry body Inter Rhône launched its latest advertising campaign for red Côtes du Rhône, its agency came up with a clever visual image of a red balloon, which could symbolize a simple glass of red wine. The word "ballon" in French means balloon, but it also means a small wine glass such as you might order in a bar. The campaign also has the words "Au gout de la vie" meaning "A taste for life". Inter Rhône says that the balloon symbolizes escapism and a dream that is accessible to everyone.

ANPAA reacted by starting legal proceedings against Inter Rhône for breaching the Loi Evin. Earlier this year, after nine years of wrangling, ANPAA lost a similar case against the CIVB, Bordeaux's promotional body, when they claimed its advertising campaign, which included portraits of vignerons, was contrary to the law. ANPAA's defeat doesn't seem to have deterred it from acting against the Rhône organization.

According to website mon-Viti, the case against Inter Rhône is to be heard shortly. Inter Rhône is not saying anything until the judgment is given, early next year. However ANPAA claims that, like several other publicity campaigns it has referred to the courts this year, the campaign breaches the law by "presenting wine as a means to enjoy oneself."

Conventional advertising is not ANPAA's only target. The organization wishes to take on the Internet too. In 2009, the Loi Evin was extended to include Internet publicity, but if ANPAA gets its way, promotion of wine would only be allowed on producers' websites to sell their wines. At Wine Searcher, we find it hard to visualize how wine education and information sites would not be able to be accessed in France.

There is no evidence that the Loi Evin has reduced problems relating to alcoholism, in fact quite the contrary, with a dramatic increase in vodka consumption in the last few years and a growing problem with youth drunkenness in France.

Dupont notes that ANPAA has 1500 employees and is entirely funded by the state to the tune of €80 million ($100m). He writes that its aim is to "destroy a section of French culture in continuing to associate wine with 'alcoholic drinks that threaten young people'".

Speaking to mon-Viti, Vin et Societé, the wine-industry pressure group, said that the interpretation of the Loi Evin was unclear. It points out that the law's original remit was to protect children and people at risk from alcohol advertising, but now several legal cases have arisen that question the law far beyond this original aim.

The pressure group is continuing its campaign started earlier this year that calls on politicians to clarify the Loi Evin once and for all, to allow the wine trade in France to continue marketing its products without falling foul of the law.

Writing on winetourisminfrance.com about ANPAA's latest target of Inter Rhône's campaign, André Deyrieux is another French wine writer who deplores the Loi Evin, which he calls a "brutal weapon of France against its wine regions". He says that wine tourism will be a direct victim. He also points out that, outside France, wine is seen as chic, classy, funny, a cultural object that revels in its heritage as well as its discovery of new lands. "Yet France is in the process of turning wine into a piece of miserable contraband".

Source: http://www.wine-searcher.com/