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Wine makers fight ‘prohibition’ law

Plan to ban free wine tastings on health grounds is disastrous say industry leaders.

WINE growers are ready to fight government plans to ban free wine tasting.

The head of the Bordeaux great wines federation, Laurent Gapenne, attacked the idea of a wine tasting ban as "disastrous" for the industry.

Health minister Roselyne Bachelot last week unveiled plans to ban open bars and the handing out of free alcohol, in a bid to crack down on binge drinking.

The plans currently cover free wine tastings in winegrowers' cellars.

The wine industry is also urging the government to clarify a 1991 law that tightly restricts advertising for alcohol, to officially allow wine ads on the internet – a plan the minister has said she agrees with.

The Mayor of Bordeaux, former prime minister Alain Juppé, said: "I am committed to fighting alcoholism, but history shows that prohibition is not the answer.”

Hundreds of vineyard owners in Bordeaux, Angers and Lyon last week took part in marches against the plan.

The head of France's Independent Winegrowers' association said: "If they wanted to kill off winegrowers altogether, this would be the right way to go about it.”

Photo:Bordeaux Mayor Alain Juppé takes part in protests.
Credit: Jean Pierre Muller

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