Austrian wine industry under fire over wine ad
May 21, 2007, 12:31 GMT
Vienna - As the country is locked in an intensive discussion over teenage binge drinking, Austria's wine industry came under fire after a controversial radio ad.
The ad lauding Austria's signature wine, Gruener Vetliner, as an 'anti-depressant ideal against the usual Monday-morning blues,' triggered massive criticism from politicians and medical experts alike, the country's wine marketing organization was forced to clarify its position on Monday.
'The Austrian wine industry deplores every kind of alcohol abuse and its negative direct and indirect affects on society, especially on children and teenagers,' the industry said in a 'position paper' released on Monday.
Admitting the necessity of responsible approach to the subject, the paper nevertheless went to great lengths pointing out the positive effects of moderate wine consumption, the important role of wine in Austrian cuisine and culture and its significance as an icon of a hedonistic lifestyle.
'Restrictive or even prohibitionist tendencies (also in the sense of advertising bans, that historically proved not successful) are rejected by the wine industry and its representatives acknowledge the hedonist character of moderate wine consumption.'
Wine Marketing head Willi Klinger professed surprise over the stir the ad caused. Last year, when the ad was broadcast for the first time, nobody had complained, he said.
In the last weeks, an increasing number of politicians had demanded measures against the growing phenomenon of teenage binge drinking, especially in rural areas.
After a slump after an Austrian wine scandal in the mid-1980s, wine exports from Austria had been growing continuously. In 2006, Austrian winemakers exported 54 million litres of wine.© 2007 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur