The question mark is important. But it shows that the French administration, represented by the Ministry of Health, seems to be ready to put an end to an incredibly stupid story.
In 1991, the “Loi Evin”, a law edicted by the then Ministry of Health Claude Evin, banned all advertising of alcohol in magazines, TV, radio, billboards. Internet was not yet considered a real media and, as such, was not mentioned in the law. Since it was not mentioned, a court ruled that you could not advertise on the Internet. Second step: a court ordered Heineken to close its French site as it was advertising on alcohol. Third step: in November 2007, a magazine published an article recommending four Champagne brands for the holidays to its readers. A court ruled it as advertising and fined the newspaper. The court stated that even informative articles related to alcohol had to mention the legal warning on the danger of alcohol. So much for freedom of the press! Some newspapers and magazines complied fearing a heavy fine.
Today there is this piece of good news brought by Decanter Bordeaux correspondent Jane Anson: “The French minister of health supports changing the Evin Law to allow wine advertising on the internet.” A CIVB spokeperson told Anson: “While we welcome the news that the internet may now be a legal method of promotion for winemakers, this has not yet been made official – and is not the only threat to French wine.” It is unfortunately true but at least now, we have a little hope.