Wine experts lash out at French ad campaign

24th November 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Nov 24 (AFP) - Leading names in the French wine industry hit out at the government Wednesday for "demonising" wine-drinkers in its campaign to cut down on alcohol abuse.

PARIS, Nov 24 (AFP) - Leading names in the French wine industry hit out at the government Wednesday for "demonising" wine-drinkers in its campaign to cut down on alcohol abuse.

At its annual meeting the Wine Academy of France, which brings together some of the most prestigious wine-growers and experts, accused the authorities of "sweeping to one side" the cultural importance of the country's centuries-old tradition.

"Wine is becoming a synonym of alcoholism thanks to the sword-thrusts of the French state," the Academy said in a statement. "We are set on an extremely dangerous course. It is not consumption that is bad - but excessive consumption."

The attack came a week after the health ministry issued a graphic advertisement on the dangers of alcoholism, which the wine industry says makes an unfounded association between wine and blood.

The advertisement, which shows a glass of wine and a dripping hour-glass containing a blood-red liquid, bears the message: "Day after day your body records every glass you drink."

On Monday an organisation of wine-growers from Bordeaux said it would file legal suit to stop the campaign, describing it as "deliberately terrorising."

France's wine industry, which directly employs some 160,000 people, is going through its worst crisis in decades thanks to a steep fall in exports combined with a historic decline in domestic consumption.

Last month deputies in the National Assembly caused outrage among health campoaigners when they voted through an amendment which would exempt wine from laws that heavily restrict advertising for alcoholic drinks.

The French government, which claims that alcohol abuse is responsible for 45,000 deaths every year, was accused of failing to stop the amendment which has yet to clear its passage through parliament.

Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin and Health Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy have both said they oppposed the change to the law.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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