Wine Information Council (WIC)

"There is no Single European way to Consume Alcoholic Beverages"

    Brussels (ots/PRNewswire) -

    - Understanding Different Drinking Patterns Across Europe key to Successful Alcohol Policies

    EU-level policy to reduce alcohol-related harm must be tailored to respond to diverse, complex realities in the different Member States. This is the conclusion of experts meeting in Brussels today at a scientific conference, organised by the Wine Information Council.

    The Council of Ministers is currently developing conclusions on the EU Strategy on alcohol and health, under the guidance of the Swedish Presidency. It is important that these take into account the fact that not all types of alcoholic beverages are consumed in the same amounts, in the same contexts or for the same purposes across Europe.

    There is no single European drinking pattern, according to experts. European adolescents are a good example: Greek teenage girls drink almost three times less than their Danish counterparts. Young Spanish consumers drink less alcohol, but more regularly than British youngsters, who drink in greater quantities, but less often (source: ESPAD). Overall consumption trends are also going up or down, depending on the EU Member State.

    "What drives people to drink is very complex, it runs from age and gender to education and socio-cultural environments; family and the parental model play a fundamental role," said Dr Marie Choquet, epidemiologist with the French Institute for Health and Medical Research (INSERM).

    Analysing these sociological and cultural differences is fundamental to inform policy-making. Different patterns of drinking and their impacts need to be understood in their context, so that appropriate measures to curb alcoholic beverages misuse, such as consumer education programmes, can be developed and implemented. To be effective, solutions must be adjusted to local needs and cultural specificities, experts agreed.

    "It is only by understanding fully the drivers and dynamics of consumption in different cultures that we can develop appropriate alcohol education programmes tailored to individual drinking constituencies", said Prof. Adrian Furnham, Professor of Psychology at University College, London, and moderator of today's conference. "Pan-European policies are insufficiently sensitive to have a significant effect in different drinking cultures. Furthermore, the literature suggests that the regulatory approach is simplistic, and sometimes counter-productive, punishing moderate drinkers and leaving problem drinkers unhelped."

    Drinking patterns also depend on the type of product in question. "Wine is a product that can only be appreciated in moderation. When it comes to wine, the key to promoting responsible consumption is to educate consumers to enjoy wine slowly and in moderation," said José-Ramon Fernandez, Secretary General of the Comité Européen des Entreprises Vins. "The EU Wine sector is committed to promote responsibility and moderation in the consumption of wines and to educate the public about the social and health risks of misuse". He added "This is the fundamental objective of our Wine in Moderation programme. The Wine Information Council seeks to guide this effort by bringing together informed stakeholders and scientific experts to develop a sound evidence base on which to build best practice for the promotion of responsible drinking patterns. This is why we hosted this conference today".

    Notes for editors:

    About the Wine Information Council (WIC, brings together scientific and academic experts from across Europe devoted to research on health, social and cultural aspects of drinking wine. Supporting all stakeholders of the wine sector, as well as consumers, it aims to gather sound science-based information on the wine sector and to disseminate all "best practice" initiatives successfully promoting responsible drinking patterns. It was developed in the context of the Wine In Moderation (WIM) programme, the European wine sector's contribution to promoting moderation and responsibility in wine consumption and preventing harmful consumption of alcoholic beverages in Europe ( The WIM Programme and its related activities (including WIC) are part of the commitment of the Committee of European Wine Companies (CEEV) to the EU Alcohol and Health Forum. The WIM programme is also supported by the European federation of independent wine growers (CEVI) and by COPA-COGECA, the trade body for farming and farmers' cooperatives. By establishing the WIM Programme and disseminating it across Europe, the European wine sector and its partners aim to make a meaningful contribution to the EU's commitment to reduce alcohol related harm.

    For all enquiries contact: Jose Ramon Fernandez, Secretary General, Comité Européen des Entreprises Vins (CEEV) +32-4-95-28-18-42

ots Originaltext: Wine Information Council (WIC)
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For all enquiries contact: Jose Ramon Fernandez, Secretary General,
Comité Européen des Entreprises Vins (CEEV) +32-4-95-28-18-42

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