I hate it when that happens.
I pretty sure it must have been when I was following a link of another blog, and I came across a short article about the benefits of having a stronger culture of wine. Then I lost it! Who wrote it and where can it be found???
The writer was suggesting that alcohol abuse was more likely when the history and culture of wine is divorced from the product. If you know something about where wine (or alcohol) comes from and how it has evolved, you are more likely to treat it with respect. Of course it was much more eloquent than that, but this was the overall point I got from it. And I agree.
What is wine, or beer, or any spirit for that matter, to an 18 year-old? In most cases, something they have only very recently started to discover, and have no context for. If they did experiment with alcohol it was probably in secret and as a way to get drunk for fun. If they had been able to experiment openly, or had been able to join in conversations about it, that bottle in Mum & Dad's sideboard might seem less mysteriously alluring.
I applaud the sentiment of the French governing party discussions about teaching school kids to appreciate wine, but I don't think that schools are the right places to do this. These are things that should be learned at home, with family and friends. This is not always easy, I realise, but replacing it with school lectures is not the answer. Seems to me that would be the fastest way to turn them away from it completely. This is one place where the media can play a positive role, and I am not talking about propaganda, just fun and informative content.
Alcohol abuse is a serious problem that does need to be taken into account. A drunk fellow passenger on the last train home the other night, throwing up in the carriage at my feet was a stark reminder of this. However, demonising alcohol does not work, so why don't we try being more relaxed about it, allowing both kids and adults to see the positive as well as the negative aspects of alcohol is surely much better?