The future role of wine in society

The EU Alcohol and Health Forum, chaired by the European Commission, was established in June 2007. The Wine in Moderation programme was the commitment of the EU wine sector to the Forum. 10 years later, Wine in Moderation has grown from a policy commitment to an international social responsibility programme, looking to address future challenges.

For hundreds of years, wine’s role has evolved as part of European life, culture and diet, often seen as a cultural complement to food and conviviality. Wine is associated with gastronomy, history, tradition, origin, local quality products and social settings. It is argued that seeing wine in the context of an agricultural and cultural product can contribute to understanding the socio-economic contribution that is linked with the sustainability of rural areas.

Excesses, both in food and in beverages, can lead to negative health effects. Not only what, but how, we eat and drink determine a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle. A challenge for the wine sector is to ensure the sensible appreciation of its product.

The harmful use of alcohol is a leading risk factor and countries are reinforcing policies to tackle alcohol related harm. Stricter approach in terms of availability, marketing and pricing of alcoholic beverages are argued to be more effective ways to tackle alcohol-related harm.

EURACTIV organised a forum to discuss the role of wine in the sustainability of our society, the concept of wine in moderation, and how these interact with different EU policies. Questions included:

– What are the actual risks and benefits from drinking wine? How can these best be communicated and addressed?
– Does wine contribute to the sustainable development goals (SDGs)?
– Can understanding wine’s culture contribute to the reduction of alcohol related harm?
– What is the role for the wine sector in educating its key actors and consumers about responsible consumption?
– How can stakeholder dialogue and cooperation be successful?
– What should be the future focus of the wine sector?

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