Allegrini 2018

Wine like cigarettes. The Who decision is a bitter cup for an entire sector

The goal is to cut 10% of alcohol consumption within three years. The Cia/Agricoltori Italiani also disagrees: “crazy equality”
Un calice di vino (PH: Saman Taheri via Unsplash)

For many we are dealing with a new prohibition that does not distinguish between categories of alcohol and that puts wine on the same level as cigarettes. Confusing abuse with consumption and leave out the history, culture and centuries-old traditions that is the basis of a product whose moderate consumption is recommended in the Mediterranean Diet recognized by Unesco. The adoption by the World Health Organization (Who) of the document “European framework for action on alcohol 2022-2025” is causing a lot of discussion and the reactions were not long in coming, as WineNews reported in these days. From Sandro Sartor, president “Wine in Moderation” and vice president of Unione Italiana Vini (Uiv) and Managing Director Constellation Brands Emea (Europe, Middle East, Africa) & Ruffino Winery and CEO Ruffino, who talked about choices that contrast the consumption and not the abuse with wine that is destinated to pay the highest price, to the Unione Italiana Vini (Uiv) itself, which did not mince words, arguing that we are struggle with “a decision that, in fact, undermine a sector ”.
But the news did not leave the main European countries indifferent, where wine is an important element in their economy. It is no coincidence that the wine sector associations of France, Italy and Spain, which, in last days, met in Conegliano, expressed strong concern asking to take into account what the European Parliament expressed in its opinion on the European Plan for the fight against cancer last spring, to focus on combating alcohol abuse and avoiding.
Even the Cia/Agricoltori Italiani is against it and has said that “it is crazy to equate wine with cigarettes, with the aim of cutting 10% of alcohol consumption within three years”.
A horizon not too far away. A plan that would put the European wine sector in crisis, which in Italy alone has 1.2 million employees and a trade surplus with foreign countries of 7 billion euros per year.
According to the Cia/Agricoltori Italiani, the provisions of the Who in Tel Aviv differs from the “Global alcohol strategy” approved in May 2022 by the same organization and from the vote on the “Cancer plan” by the European Parliament, which recognized itself in one line of moderate approach in strategies to combat the disease. There was no demonization of the consumption of wine and other alcoholic beverages and the concept of the danger of alcohol abuse was reaffirmed, but not of the use of alcohol itself. After the attack on meat and cured meats, Cia/Agricoltori Italiani sees the risk of new prohibition and is absolutely against tax increases or bans on advertising, promotion and marketing for the wine sector, as well as a strong impact labeling on the bottles as it happens for cigarettes.
The organization is now asking politics to intervene in defense of the wine sector, the excellence of our made in Italy, and recalls how moderate consumption of wine has always been a characterizing factor of the Mediterranean Diet, recognized in 2010 by Unesco as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

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