Unpalatable truth of wine and the French

07 September 2014 - 02:29 By The Daily Telegraph

France's pride in being the world's wine capital took a knock this week when it emerged that almost three-quarters of French people confess to knowing next to nothing about the drink.

In a poll for the magazine Terre des Vins, 71% of people questioned responded "no" to the question: "Do you have the feeling you have a good knowledge of wine?"

When asked how much they knew about wine, 43% of respondents replied "nothing at all", while only 3% replied "a lot" and 26% "a bit".

Far from being the drink of the masses, wine remains "very elitist", the poll found.

Wine literacy depends largely on which social class the consumer comes from, with 43% of managers identifying themselves as connoisseurs, compared with 30% of middle managers and 20% of employees and 16% of blue-collar workers.

Poorer French families said they never had the chance to develop their palate as fine wines were too expensive.

The figures were backed up by a wine shop owner in Paris' s 20th arrondissement, who told Le Parisien: "I'm appalled to see how little people know about wine.

"Half of my customers say they know nothing about it."

Half of the respondents to the survey said they would like young people to be taught about French wine, perhaps in part to counter the growing scourge of "le binge drinking" - seen as an unwanted British cultural import involving consuming any cheap alcohol to get drunk quickly.