Binge drinking and its tragic consequences are very much in the mind of French politicians and health specialists. Unfortunately in order to reduce binge drinking, French authorities target the wine industry more than the spirits industry. Studies show clearly that young people get drunk in night clubs on cocktails based on spirits and not on wine.
A recent report on the prevention of binge drinking and alcohol related problems among the young people show that education is the best prevention. We already talked about the various possible opinions on the delicate subject of wine education: is it better to let young people taste a drop of wine in their early age like it is still done in many French families where wine is part of the lifestyle? Or is it better to just forbid alcohol in any form until adulthood? The debate is till going on and there is no certain answer.
That’s why a report signed by Prof. Jean-Robert Pitte, former President of the prestigious Sorbonne in Paris and Jean-Pierre Coffe is rather interesting. The report states clearly universities should serve wine in their restaurants and educate students on wine. Both men recommend that wine tastings be organized in universities and university restaurants. The proposal makes sense if one takes into account that students from international business schools, such as our HEC or INSEAD, have wine tasting clubs open to their students. Members of those clubs organize tastings and events with wine professionals. Wine is then considered as a cultural product, part of a highly elegant lifestyle. We are very far from binge drinking! The Ministry of Education, Valerie Pecresse, already ruled out the opportunity.
What’s good? What’s wrong? Education is the key to a better understanding of cultural values. Wine is part of the history of most European countries. Young people should be introduced to wine during their studies. The wine industry, with its long history and economical importance in our troubled times, is not explained in any geography or history course. What’s wrong with our educational system?