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August 10, 2018

French winemakers are not pleased with new warning labels

The French government is looking to enlarge warning labels on wine bottles, and producers are coming uncorked

Food and Drink Health
Wine Xinhua/Sipa USA

Photo taken on May 26, 2018 shows a glass of wine at a vineyard.

The French may love their wine, but the government is cracking down – and French winemakers are not happy. Health Minister of France Agnès Buzyn wants to implement a larger warning label on wine bottles and wine producers don't understand the need for it.

Winemakers are reportedly concerned that enlarging the label is an attack on French wine culture. The change would enlarge two warnings: drinking while pregnant and the legal age limit on drinking, which is 18 in France. 


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Wine producers penned a letter to the French paper, Le Figaro, in which they declared, “Every day, our cellars, our domains and chateaus, our wine making landscapes, welcome thousands of tourists come to discover this France, bosom of the art de vivre that is the envy of the world and where wine plays a leading role. Are we going to have to, minister, send to France and the whole world our wines…with labels covered in lugubrious and deathly signs?”

The Telegraph reported that in 2007, several mothers sued the French government for not warning them of the dangers of alcohol consumption while pregnant. This led to the development of a warning label on wine bottles. Only 0.5 cm in size, however, the label in 2017 grew to 1.0 cm against many winemakers wishes. This new change proposed by Buzyn would increase the label to 2.0 cm, and she'd like to see the change by the new year.  French winemakers have instead offered to create their own campaigns to combat underage drinking and drinking while pregnant. 

In a 2017 study, it was revealed that 27 percent of French women still drink alcohol during pregnancy, and according to The Telegraph, more than 8,000 babies in France are born with health problems due to alcohol consumption every year. 


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