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Blog: Cheap Shot at Wine

Posted: Friday, 31 August 2012 12:34

Blog: Cheap Shot at Wine

August 31 : While we are striving to have the taxes brought down in India to encourage the consumption of wine, Australian health bodies are pushing the government to raise taxes on wine almost four-fold to reduce the consumption in order to combat the rising cost of death and injury fuelled by alcohol, writes Subhash Arora who has been advocating the tax reduction on wine for a decade to encourage people to switch from high alcohol drinks to wine.

During my visit to several co-operatives or big-sized wineries around the globe, I have been amused and have often written about the wine at several big wineries and co-operatives at around a dollar a liter as being cheaper than gas (petrol).  A government inquiry in Down Under is now being told that wine is cheaper than bottled water and that raising the prices to a minimum  is the best way to fight the 32,600 deaths caused by alcohol in Australia each year.

Cask wine and some cleanskins (unlabelled-unbranded bottled wine) cost just 30c (Rs.15) a standard drink, according to the information. It has received submissions from health and consumer groups supporting a plan to make consumers pay at least $1.30 a standard drink - 100ml of 11 per cent alcohol wine, raising it by four times.

The inquiry comes amid growing public concern about Australia's binge-drinking culture. The Consumers Health Forum would like to see the alcohol price raised, but through higher taxes.

While it is an internal issue of Australia, it does highlight the fact that even wine can turn out to be an alcoholic headache. Being totally immersed in the beauty of wine being a lifestyle and healthy product when taken in moderation,we oversee the possibility of wine becoming a monstrosity.

Recently, one of our readers of delWine commented in favour of wine, suggesting that if wine could replace hard liquor as an alcoholic beverage, it could be a healthy change. That comment brought about memories of an article I had read a couple of years ago about a lady in UK from a wine merchant’s family, who grew up to become a wine expert and a sommelier at a very young age but the overexposure turned her into an alcoholic and took her to a nadir till she sought professional help to lick the problem and eventually wrote a book about it. UK and Ireland are two of the countries where the problem of over-drinking has become acute and there are talks of minimum prices to curb alcoholism.

It will be a few decades before we come to that problem in India where alcoholism is a problem, with cheap liquor consumption and hooch resulting in accidents and deaths. For the present, wine is much too expensive in India and we shall do well to try and ‘divert’ the traffic of hard liquor drinkers to wine and beer. The more people are educated and switch to wine as a lifestyle food product, lesser the chance of the problem Australia is facing. Check out countries like Italy, France, Portugal or Spain and let me know if they find the problem as acute.

Subhash Arora  



Jose Carlos Costa Says:

Blaming and penalizing wines and other alcoholic beverages for this social problem is in my view most unfair, in fact similar to the concept of “shooting the messenger”. I think that the responsible authorities need to address the root cause of this problem which in my opinion can be found in the prevailing culture of these particular countries and what has traditionally been socially acceptable behaviour.

Posted @ September 04, 2012 14:37


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