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Published:  23 July, 2008

Senators in the upper house of the French parliament have voted through reforms to the Loi Evin - the anti-alcohol legislation that restricts drinks advertising in France - that could pave the way for generic wine advertising. The reforms, which are part of a bill aimed at developing rural areas in France, still need to be approved by the lower house, but if they are passed, they would allow generic bodies to make reference to their terroirs and the distinctive tastes and sensual experiences associated with them. This would open the door for the return of recently banned ads, such as those produced by the professional bodies of both Bordeaux and Burgundy. The reforms do not, however, cover branded products, which will still have to conform to the rigid parameters set by the Loi Evin, which allows only ads featuring the brand name, alcoholic strength and bottle shots. According to French drinks news agency VSB, the French secretary of state for agriculture, Nicolas Forissier, has backed the reforms, which he said are aimed at restoring equality between products from geographic appellations and commercial brands'. There has been much opposition, however, and a long battle is expected before the bill becomes law.