02 March, 2002

Sarko and le bon vin

The presidential election campaign currently rages in France. The socialist Ségolène Royal and the gaullist Nicolas Sarkozy fight tooth and nail and with nice and less nice tricks.

The fight takes place on a broad front. The other day Sarkozy widened it further when he suggested to ease the strict rules for advertizing for wines. That is, if he is elected as the new president of France this April and May. And maybe there are some wine votes to pick up this way?

Strict rules for advertizing
It is the strict Evin-law from 1991, Sarko considers to ease. The government works with a similar approach. The law regulates amongst others how you can advertize for tobacco and alcoholic beverages.

"Wine is not just an economic activity, it's a French tradition, a French identity, a French know-how," Sarkozy said when he visited some winemakers in Sancerre earlier this week.

"We cannot ask you to be competitive when others have the right to use advertising and you don't."

However, changes of the law cannot call for more than a moderate consumption. At the moment the law forbids any kind of prompting people to buy or drink wine. Some French winegrower's and/or -makers think, that the Evin-law is amongst the causes of the current crisis of the French wine industry. Others think, that the way out of the crises for some is to make better wines, and for others to sell their good wines in a better way. For instance write labels, that are more easy for consumers to understand.

No president without wine
In the magazines you see more pictures of a Sarkozy jogging in Central Park and elsewhere followed by a handful of jogging bodyguards than same Sarkozy with a glass of wine in his hand. Since he does not drink wine. It is simply not compatible with a level of energy as frenetic as his, the wine magazine La Revue du Vin de France reported recently.

In France where wine has an approximately two percent of the GNP, but plays a much bigger role of French pride and identity, no presidential candidate can afford to simply write off the wine. Thus Nicolas Sarkozy is interested in the business, he has to.

According to the same magazine Ségolène Royal - in her junior years with the late president Mitterand - learned, that "to eat and drink are two pillars of the French art de vivre." And she likes wine according to La Revue du Vin de France.

But it reserves the honour of "true connoisseur" for the green candidate, Dominique Voynet, who is said to be able to mention loads of wines from the Jura. And not just organic ones.

But Voynet is not the most probable next inhabitant in the Elysée palace. It is also too early to write Ségolène out of the story even with a series of bad polls lately. I wonder, what she will be up to now to overtrump Sarkozy?

Wikis: På dansk

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