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Published:  23 July, 2008

By Jim Budd

Following months of discussion and polemic, the French Senate approved an amendment to the 1991 Loi Evin on 19 January. The compromise amendment was submitted by Philippe Douste-Blazy, minister of health. It clarifies and loosens the very tight restrictions that the Loi Evin placed on the promotion and advertising of alcoholic drinks in France. It will now be possible to mention all aspects of terroir and the people who grow the vines and make the wine, along with the colour, smell and taste of wine. Vin et Socit, the organisation that represents the French wine industry, has welcomed the outcome, saying: This is a satisfactory solution for the French wine industry and will allow a dialogue to continue between the industry, health professionals and the French government.' Many professional health organisations have been vociferous in their opposition to changing the Loi Evin. The amendment is an important advance,' Xavier Carreau, president of Vin et Socit and vice-president of the CIVB (Conseil Interprofessionnel des Vins de Bordeaux), told Harpers. It will allow us to communicate better in future. Bordeaux will be able to run the buvons moins, buvons meilleur [drink less, drink better] campaign without any problem. This is very satisfactory, as we felt it was a very good message.' Carreau also welcomed the decision by the Ministry of Agriculture to set up the Conseil de la Modration. The Conseil will bring together the French wine industry, health professionals and those in charge of road safety. Talking together we will avoid last year's campaign of denigration against wine,' said Carreau. The first meeting of the Conseil de la Modration will be held on 26 January. This initial meeting will decide the composition of the committee, while the Conseil's first full meeting will be held in February.