MORE than eight million litres of this season's production of Beaujolais wine is being turned into near-pure alcohol for use in disinfectants, cleaning products or fuel additives, as French vineyards face up to a massive overproduction crisis.
Reasons include a "chronic" wine glut, foreign competition and, most surprisingly (to me, at any rate), falling consumption in France.
In 1960, the average Frenchman drank 3.1 bottles of wine per week. Today, the average intake is 1.4 bottles per week and falling, according to Michel Baldassini, who heads the main Burgundy wine growers' association.
Drinking less? Smoking less? What next? Eating less cheese and surrendering less? By the way, be sure to check out the comments on the bottom of that news story. Seems the "freedom fries" set is in a gloating mood.