Warning Labels Mandated for Wine Bottles in France Wine bottles in France must now carry health labels warning women of the dangers of drinking during pregnancy. It's a radical change for this nation of wine lovers.
NPR logo

Warning Labels Mandated for Wine Bottles in France

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/17869405/17869347" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Warning Labels Mandated for Wine Bottles in France

Warning Labels Mandated for Wine Bottles in France

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/17869405/17869347" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, Host:

Eleanor Beardsley sends this report.

ELEANOR BEARDSLEY: At a wine fair in Paris, hundreds of vintners from Bordeaux Burgundy and all over France extol the qualities of their wines in a giant exhibition hall. Francois Brun(ph) is a seventh generation winemaker from Alsace. The elegant labels on Brun's bottle describe the great variety, give the vintage and carry the name of his chateau. And now, they also carry a mandatory warning - the silhouette of a pregnant woman holding a glass with the universal flash mark across her bulging belly. The black and white logo may be minuscule, but Brown says it clutters his labor and could hurt sales.

FRANCOIS BRUN: (Through translator) For us, wine is anchored in our traditions and we are used to sharing it in a responsible way. We don't feel we are making a dangerous product for pregnant women or anyone else as long, as it is enjoyed with pleasure and moderation.

BEARDSLEY: Michel Craplet is a psychiatrist with the French Association of Alcoholism and Addiction, one of the groups that lobbied for the warning label. Craplet says the regulation met such resistance because it meant accepting that wine could be as dangerous as other alcoholic drinks.

MICHEL CRAPLET: Wine is a totem. It's a very important product in the culture not only in the agriculture but in the culture of France, in paintings, in literature wine is everywhere. So drinking too much wine or not drinking at all is concept to be a bad citizen.

(SOUNDBITE OF DOORBELL RINGING)

BEARDSLEY: Outside on the sidewalk, a young couple is looking at Scala's champagne display in the window. A question about the logo amuses them. They're expecting their first child.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SALVEC MONDIE: (Speaking in French)

BEARDSLEY: I think they are right to put the logo, but we don't really need it. Everybody already knows not to drink if you're pregnant said Salvec Mondie. You can drink in occasional glass, but it should be rare. And most future mothers don't drink at all.

MONDIE: (Speaking in French)

BEARDSLEY: For NPR News, I'm Eleanor Beardsley in Paris.

Copyright © 2008 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.