Saturday, June 14, 2008

France's Tangled Wine Web

An official list, developed in 1991, of approved media vehicles for alcohol marketing in France apparently does not include the Internet. This means that online wine advertising, e-commerce sites for French wine retailers, and even websites for such big name French brands as Chateau Margaux, are considered illicit business. The director of an online wine merchant in Bordeaux, Patrick Bernard, put it best when he explained that “In France whatever is not legal is illegal, in America it is the other way around…” In an uncharacteristically preemptive move, Microsoft has removed all liquor advertising and stripped related key words from the French MSN site while Google and Yahoo have yet to follow suit. This entire brew-ha-ha stems from a court decision in a case against Heineken. Stay tuned…

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