You have got to hand it to the French. While many Americans do all they can to keep alcohol out of the hands of underage drinkers and eliminate advertising messages in places where kids might see them, a French government report suggests primary schools should start teaching youngsters about French wine.
The report, compiled ruling UMP party deputies Philippe-Armand Martin and Gerard Voisin, said French schools need to teach wine appreciation as a way to educate kids about healthy living and to help ailing vineyards, caused in part by more young drinkers turning to beer and cocktails. The French wine industry has seen exports decline because of increased competition from American, Australian and other vintners. This is compounded by a lagging domestic market. In one study, 92 percent of people under 25 in France said they like other drinks more than wine. Per capita wine consumption in France is 55 percent of what it was in 1970. Some vineyards have had to distill perfectly good wine into industrial alcohol and others are being paid to rip up vines.
The report says that primary schools can teach students about the history of wine in France and the different characteristics of wines. The report points out that learning about the agricultural aspects of wine will teach students a respect for nature. It also notes that wine consumption has been linked to health benefits and this information should be included in health classes.
Beyond the efforts to educate the next generation of domestic consumers, the report called for an international advertising campaign promoting French wines and for better training for winemakers.