Is education the answer to alcohol related problems?

by Eve Resnick on March 6, 2009

in General

France is currently debating a law on how to save its health coverage system and prevent various costly diseases, such as cancer, cardiovascular accidents and so on. First culprit: wine consumption. I suppose drinking a glass of whiskey a day or a glass of vodka is much better for your health!

Whatever the culprit or the intentions of the government behind this targeting of the wine industry, I suspect France doesn’t to find the right answer to the problem of binge drinking among young people. The answer is called: education. In countries where drinking wine is not denounced as a crime, alcoholism decreased while wine consumption increased. Weird? Not so much! Education was the key word. Young children learned how wine was made, how it was part of their history, their culture and their traditions, that it was part of a high quality lifestyle. Grown up, they knew to choose wine, consume it with moderation and appreciate it for what it was: the result of a difficult work done by people dedicated to a high quality product.

This is so true that some French people are at the origin of very original and innovative ideas. The small but rising Chaors appellation is one of them. Its Marketing Director, Jeremy Arnaud, launched last year the Malbec Academy in partnership for the Wine MBA program of the Dijon Business School, under the direction of Pr. Joëlle Brouard. Each year, the students spend a week in Cahors to get both a theoretical and practical knowledge of the Cahors region and wines: in the morning, they follow seminars on the international strategy of the Cahors appellation and brainstorm with the speakers on various subjects. In the afternoon, they visit properties and meet producers and negociants. To complete this “splash course”, each student is invited to spend the week with the family of a producer or a negociant.

The program takes place from March 23rd to March 27th in Cahors. I’ll be one of the keynote speakers among many others: Jérémy Arnaud, Marketing Director of the Cahors Appellation (UIVC), Pr. Joëlle Brouard and Pr. Jean-Guillaume Ditter, authors of a comparative study on Cahors and Chablis; the journalist Jérôme Baudouin for his comparative study on Cahors and Australia, Pr. Valérie Olvier on agricultural management; Pr. Jean-Christian Tulet author of a documentary on Cahors wines; Franck Lederer, Financial Director of the Taillan Group, to mention only a few.

This initiative shows how education and not repression is the best way to answer the problem.

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