Sarkozy, teetotaler, is out; Hollande, in. But is he a Champagne Socialist?

At the polls yesterday, French voters bid adieu to President Sarkozy who was famously, and incongruously, a teetotaler as head of France. “President Bling Bling,” as he was known, will now be replaced by “Mr. Normal,” Francois Hollande. As far as our beat is concerned, does that mean that a wine-lover will be returning to the Elysée Palace?

The last Socialist occupant, Francois Mitterrand, was a fan of the fruits of the vine. Segolene Royal, former partner of Francois Hollande and mother of his four children, said when she ran against Sarkozy in 2007 that while working as an adviser to late president Francois Mitterrand in the 1980s, she “learned that eating and drinking were the two pillars of the French art de vivre.” So there’s hope. And Hollande’s current partner, Valerie Trierweiler, was born in Angers and likes his cooking even if he uses too much butter. So there is hope, from a wine geek’s perspective, that he is a Champagne Socialist who might even be able to talk about the terroir.

Hit the comments with any intel you might have about le vin d’Hollande. And note the wine in the above photo.

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8 Responses to “Sarkozy, teetotaler, is out; Hollande, in. But is he a Champagne Socialist?”

  1. Well French wine should be cheaper thanks to the Euro taking a nice Socialist dive!

    Score one for North America

  2. Amusingly, the ad that came up for me in the right corner of your blog (I know you don’t control them) was for Romney’s campaign — another teetotaler politician.

  3. Weston – A lower euro would certainly make north American wine drinkers cheer. But what with taxes and industry tiers, it might take a big move to actually see a difference in the glass…

    Michael – Funny. Actually, the top box ad is currently on a google rotation. So I guess their algorithm picked up on that. 😉

    On a related note, we had a recent discussion around the statement “Teetotalers are terrible presidents” in case you missed it.

  4. For a picture of Hollande drinking a 2005 Clos Triguedina Cahors see

    In the interview on that website he said that the first wine he ever had was a Burgndy, which he still remembers drinking, served him by his parents as part of his “oenological education.” They taught him that wine was a quality product, to be respected. As part of that education, wine was drunk in moderation, with good vins de table and appellations the rule.

  5. Terrific, Richard, thanks! Good to see that he learned about wine at the family table growing up. He doesn’t seem too into it now but at least he did have a second glass…

  6. Decanter ran a piece on what impact Hollande will have on the wine sector. A snippet:

    “But Francois Hollande has always been the more convincing wine lover – even having a glass of wine during lunch while waiting for the results on Sunday.

    “Hollande recently told industry journal Revue du Vin de France, ‘like many Frenchman, I am seduced by the excellence of the wine our country produces. I enjoy wine tasting with friends and family… and I often open a good bottle to celebrate big events.’”

    And he accused Sarkozy of sacrificing the wine sector.

    Here are some links:,vins-elections-presidentielles-2012-francois-hollande-loi-evin-parti-socialiste-filiere-vitivinicole-durable-pac,13184,4241973.asp,media-politique-et-sante,13184.htm

  7. Hollande’s policies on wine seem to amount to the following:

    1) yes, you’ll see him drinking wine (in the Malolakti[K] interview, he says “You will always be able to say that you saw me drink some [wine]! You’ll be able to say you witnessed it, eh! Here – you’ll even be able to say you saw me take seconds!”

    2)he implies that he will not be personally promoting wine when he says he is against “Food Channel” type shows that would focus exclusively on wine. Malolakti[K]: the Evin Law was cited by the Conseil Superieur when it banned wine-centered TV shows. What do you make of that? Hollande: Let’s do other things. Let’s do shows about gastronomy, or the Art of the Table! Then, when you prepare a dish, you can say what should be paired with it. That is much more effective.

    3) The Loi Evin will stay on the books, and there will not even be any re-opening of the Parliamentary discussion. “The law has its virtues, its limits, its constraints. But it’s better to promote wine through gastronomy, terroir, image, etc., in order that people view wine not as alcohol, but as an element of French savoir-vivre and of quality of life.”

    4) He will work to promote French wine on a political level, both through branded wine areas, like Champagne or Cognac, and through export-oriented Comites Interprofessionelles. His Cahors interview with Malolakti[K] seems to suggest that he wants it both ways: small interpro. groups should be allowed to promote even their small ACs, but it would be more effective for France’s exports if its image were promoted more centrally. In a later interview with RTL, Hollande sees the brand regions leading the charge, but he also sees an expanding worldwide demand for wines, especially from “emerging countries” (China? Russia?) who will educate themselves and go from mere wine drinkers to sophisticated consumers who understand “appellations [and] quality.” STill, the State has a place in opening markets for producers and helping them export.

    5) he is in favor of the European program of “plantation rights,” whose purpose is to retain acreage that needs to be legitimately replanted, while allowing poor acreage to be ripped out.

    In short, Hollande sees export promotion as a way to make the French wine sector healthier. Promote exports, and you will increase French market-share overseas, thereby increasing demand for French wine. The plantation rights polemic then takes care of itself. Oh, and while you’re at it, talk about the healthy aspects of French wine, as well as moderate consumption, and get away from demonizing it as just another alcohol.

  8. So did Sarko impose a water regimen on his wife and guests? It’s fine with me if someone doesn’t drink, but if he tyrannizes others, that’s beyond the pale. Jimmy Carter did that. No wonder the rabbit bit him.


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