Wine Law

Promoting the Wine Industry under French Law Christine Lebel 1 Introduction; I. The 20th and 21st Centuries’ Evolution of the Hygienism Emphasis Concerning the Wine Industry; I.1. From unrestricted communications to a stricter framework for wine advertising; I.2. The particularities of wine; II. The Legal Framework for Collective Wine Advertising; II.1. The arguments supporting a ban on communications concerning consumption; II.2. The exceptions: information on the terroir and the qualities of the wine; III. The Failure of a Relaxation in Wine Promotion; III.1. Prohibited and mandatory information; III.2. Authorised media. INTRODUCTION By endorsing the ruling rendered by the first civil chamber of the Court of Cassation on 1 July 20152, it was hoped that the discord over the collective advertising of wines bearing the appellation label had been truly resolved, ensuring a period of calm following the years of legal battles between the more ardent proponents of hygienism and the French wine industry. In truth, the lull was short-lived, less than three years as, on 7 February 2018, the French Minister of Health declared on television that “The wine industry today has us believe that wine is different from other spirits. In terms of public health, there is no difference between drinking wine, beer, vodka or whisky! We allow the French public to believe that wine provides certain protective benefits that other alcohols do not. This is scientifically incorrect; wine is an alcohol like any other”. Within days, on the eve of the opening of the Agricultural Show in February 2018, we witnessed an important exchange between the supporters of each ideology, thus reigniting the controversy over the consumption of wine and, indirectly, on the methods of communication of wine. 1 Senior Lecturer HDR (CRJFC, EA 3225), UFR SJEPG (University of Franche-Comté); Vice-President of the French Association of Rural Law (AFDR) and member of AIDV. 2 Cass. 1e civ., 1 July 2015, no. 14-17.368: JCP G 2015, 1236, note C. Lebel, JCP E 2015, 1476, note Ch. Gateau.