Wine is integral to European life and culture. The EU is the largest wine producer in the world, as well as the world’s leading exporter of wine products, and the sector contributes some €15bn annually to the EU economy. The wine sector’s importance to the European economy should not be counted merely in monetary terms, however. The sector permeates many levels of European life, contributing significantly to society in socio-economic, environmental and societal terms: where vines grace the landscape, the wine sector provides employment to millions, helping to sustain the fabric of rural societies and maintaining a way of life that is central to the very notion of European identity. Not least, wine and wine products are enjoyed by millions in Europe and around the world, often providing the focus to landmark celebrations as well as being savoured with good food.
The European wine sector, acknowledges these important contributions and seeks to promote the wine sector and its products within the EU and abroad.
The European wine sector, however, also acknowledges the health dangers and the negative social and economic impact that can be and have been engendered by the misuse of wine and other alcoholic beverages. It recognises that while for the majority of consumers wine products represent a pleasurable beverage to be enjoyed in moderation, a minority abuse alcoholic products in ways that are damaging to themselves and that can harm others around them. The sector also recognises worrying trends relating to so called binge-drinking that has become especially marked in certain parts of the European Union, and among certain social, age and socio-economic groups.
The European wine sector believes that the quality products it produces in and of themselves incite moderate consumption patterns. However, the sector also recognises that not all people consume wine in moderation, and it seeks to promote moderation and responsibility in wine consumption as the social norm.
To this end, the European wine sector has developed a pan-European programme called “Wine in Moderation”, which works to promote sensible drinking patterns and reduce alcohol abuse and misuse related harm and supports initiatives aimed at reducing harmful alcohol-related behaviour in Europe, while preserving the cultural, environmental and economic place of wine in European society.
This Common Message sets out a common understanding that will form the basis and foundation of the Wine in Moderation programme. The programme is intended to be rolled out across the European Union with a view to:
- Communicating moderation and responsibility in the sensible consumption of wine, and encouraging this as a cultural / social norm.
- Contributing towards preventing abusive and/or excessive consumption of alcoholic drinks, reducing alcohol misuse and helping young people and adults make enlightened, responsible decisions about drinking.
- Cooperating effectively with the competent authorities and other relevant stakeholders in the prevention of excessive consumption or misuse of wine.