If you’ve got a few minutes, head on over to Jamie Goode’s blog and read this article on the new UK drinking rules.
While Australian drinking guidelines aren’t quite as stern as those in the UK, we’re seeing an increasing volume of noise directed in the direction of the wine industry, with constant calls for more taxation, increasing restrictions to advertising and more controls on availability, all of which are reflective of a worrying neo-prohibitionist movement.
You could argue that, as a wine communicator, I’ve got vested interests in casting any controls like these as evil, but the fact is (read Jamie’s article for the stats) that moderate wine drinking should be seen as beneficial to our health. We should worry that what is an enjoyable and ostensibly healthy part of our meal/pastime/hobby is being portrayed as dangerous – when, in moderationm it is anything but.
Sure, we can argue about the merits of different taxation systems – the WET system, for example, is ridiculous if couched in terms of a health argument – but it is vitally important that we rebut the assertion that a)alcohol is always bad and b) wine is unhealthy. We’re not quite at the tipping point of the UK yet, but unless more effort is put into emphasising the benefits of wine, we could genuinely see a point where it is seen to be as evil as tobacco.
Obviously I’m not sticking up for tobacco in any way there (I’m a strident non smoker), but you can see the pathway of what would happen if alcohol were treated the same way.
Lets hope that point never comes…