The French government has spent billions subsidizing the production of vin ordinaire that can’t compete in the world market, perpetuating economic dependence on the production of wine destined to be distilled down to alcohol to power French automobiles.
At the same time, the French government has embarked on a campaign to decrease French consumption of wine, which will presumably exacerbate the problem by diminishing the market for wine that is already un-sellable.
That campaign has, in turn, inspired French wine producers to put together a fund to promote wine.
A new pro-wine lobby with a budget of some €2m has been created to counter the effects of the French government’s ‘vilifying’ of wine…Starting next year, appellations including Bordeaux and Champagne will support and finance ‘serious, in-depth studies by doctors and scientists to show the beneficial effects of wine,’ said Burgundy Wine Board (BIVB) President Pierre-Henry Gagey.
How serious and in-depth those studies will be since the conclusions are decided, bought and paid for ahead of time is open to debate, but a more important question is how the lobby will get its message out to French citizens. One of the policies under discussion in Paris is the banning of all mention of wine (and other alcoholic beverages) in the media, in order to de-glamorize France’s most important agricultural product.
That, in turn, has led a French media company to announce the creation of a cable TV network dedicated entirely to the promotion of wine.
The Edonys channel, according to a press release, will contain wine tourism features on visits to vineyards and wine regions around the world, tasting advice, information about sales and auctions, and professional reports about the wine industry.
The producers of Edonys are confident their channel will find a big audience, and have set up a Twitter page with — as of this writing — one tweet and five followers. Unlike the United States, France has no First Amendment, so Edonys has to apply to the French government for permission to begin producing and distributing it’s programing.
The Conseil Supérieur de l’Audiovisuel, the regulatory body for French TV and radio, will announce whether to allow the channel to exist in December.