French senate declares obvious: wine part of national heritage

boy_wine_franceA committee in the French Senate declared the obvious this week in adding an amendment that would make wine an official part of French heritage.

Cries of “um, duh!” could be heard in the land that makes some of the best wines in the world today and up until fifty years ago had a per capita consumption of 100 liters per person.

That it has come to this underscores the threats the wine industry faces abroad but particularly at home. Overseas, French wine has lost market share in the US to new world producers (although, at the high end, the mindshare remains huge). But at home, wine has come under threat from advertising restrictions, tougher laws against drunken driving, an ascendent force that sees wine/alcohol as a public health problem, a proposal to raise the tax on wine 1,000%, and truly nutty proposals to bar media discussion of health benefits of wine and a ban on talking about wine on the internet! So, in light of these domestic developments, such a declaration by the senate becomes more understandable as it gives the wine industry to something they can use to bolster their position.

We wish them bonne chance. But perhaps the best thing we could do for them is take a sip of the heritage and say santé! (Or, wait, is it not healthy…?)

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4 Responses to “French senate declares obvious: wine part of national heritage”

  1. here is a question about new/old world- if in my country vine-grapes were cultivated since biblical times and the renaissance was at the 19th century, our wines are considered new or old world wines?

  2. Dr Vino,
    Well-said. If wine enthusiasm is waning in France, as it appears to be, good for their senate for addressing the issue. Hopefully it will help to keep wine at the forefront of France’s cultural consciousness, where it deserves to be.

  3. Hi Maya – Yes, it sounds as if your country is a bit of a gray area. But “New World” typically means the wine world ex-Europe.

    Thanks, Tony. Yes, it will be interesting to see how it all plays out. But it a sign of the times that this amendment even got proposed.

  4. Hi Dr Vino!
    As you explain it in your post, this declaration is positive for protecting the French wine industry at home, but it is also really hypocritical, since the French government seems to do everything it can to prohibit alcohol. This website ( is a really good way to understand what is going on in France regarding this prohibition threat(sorry, it is in French!).


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