French winegrowers feared that a bill making its way through the legislature could prohibit free tastings at the vineyard/winery, often an important sales channel (and one that can offer fantastic prices too). The increasingly powerful health lobby was pushing the bill but, in the end, the health minister, Roselyne Bachelot, was able to prevent some promotional wine tastings from inclusion as well as striking down a proposed ban on wine advertising on the internet. Other changes include raising the drinking age from 16 to 18. See jancisrobinson.com for more perspective on the current law. And learn more about how France got to this point in my book, Wine Politics.
In 2007, Illinois wine consumers became legally prohibited from buying wine from out-of-state wine stores, thereby reducing a national market for wine to a local one. State Representative Julie Hamos from Evanston–where I lived for several years and, ironically, the home of the once-powerful Woman’s Christian Temperance Union–has submitted a bill to repeal this restriction. The Chicago Tribune had an editorial in support of the new bill calling the current situation “boneheaded.” Learn more about how America got to this point in my book, Wine Politics.
SPIT: minimum pricing
Prime Minister Gordon Brown of the UK rebuffed an attempt to set high minimum prices for alcoholic beverages. The chief medical officer, Sir Liam Donaldson, sought the increases, which would have doubled the price of some beer and spirits and set a minimum price of £4.50 for a bottle of wine as a strategy to combat binge drinking. Separately, Scotland is set to impose minimum prices on alcohol by year-end. [Guardian]
SIPPED: more celebrity wine
The latest entrant into the crowded field of celebrity wines is Sting (who has chosen the downturn in the NYC real estate market to offload his Manhattan apartment, btw). The two red wines will come from his 300 hectare (!) Tuscan property and are, as yet, unnamed. Will they go with Message in a Bottle? [The Times of London]