01 February, 2002

The French belly empties

An elderly gentleman with a dark beret on one side of his head, baguette under the arm and supported by a belly with a volume big enough to contain solid food and at least those three bottles of wine he gulps down in a day. There are not many such grandfathers left in today's France but they are remembered with veneration.

Now on the decline more than ever. The French consumption of wine has done nothing but descending since 2001, and it is expected to be overtaken by that of the Americans and italians during the next five years. Says an analysis made on behalf of the big exhibition Vinexpo, that takes place in Bordeaux in June 17th-21st.

In Champagne the French share of the cake decreases as well. It used to be 60 percent of the entire consumption, today it is down to a share of 50 percent. The growing sales are for exports mainly.

Alcohol and publicity limits
It is the Evin-law (Wiki) from 1991 that has slowed down the consumption of wine, says French newsagency AFP. The law has put limits to how you can advertize for alcohol. For instance it is obligatory to tell - in big letters - about the health risks you run when consuming alcohol. Check it here and here.

The alcohol limit has its part to play as well. It is and was 0,5 but with the Evin-law the French police began to enforce it as well, and that has made the sales of wines consumed at lunchtime decrease drastically. Even the customers are allowed to bring the bottle with leftovers. Doggybags never got really big in Europe, I guess.

With these gloomy perspectives the dear grandpére can end up becoming an even more rare thus more mythical character in the popular part of the French Parnassus.

På dansk

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Read the story at Expatica.com (English) or at Agrisalon.com (French).
Examination of the Evin-law made by two French doctors (in English) here and 10 years conlusion by the French Ministry of Health here.

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