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Pilot sticker lands French wine with Swedish ban

Pilot sticker lands French wine with Swedish ban

Published: 14 Dec 2012 15:02 GMT+01:00
Updated: 14 Dec 2012 15:02 GMT+01:00

The Swedish state alcohol-monopoly has banned a French wine from its shelves because the label shows a pilot in action, prompting the importer of the "Flying Solo" wine to appeal the ban.

“We don’t see how a person drinking this wine would want to go fly a plane from the 1930s, nor how it would encourage anyone to slip into the cockpit,” the wine importer wrote in a lengthy email exchange with regulators at the state alcohol sellers Systembolaget.

But Systembolaget referred to guidelines from the Swedish Consumer Protection Agency (Konsumentverket).

“Marketing cannot in its design conjure associations with situations where alcohol consumption is inadvisable, such as traffic, sports or work,” the representative wrote.

Nor did Systembolaget find the label's historic context relevant - that pilots in the 1930s had used the Gayda vineyard's unusually tall signature tree as a landmark when they navigated south from Toulouse to deliver post to Spain, and even further afield in North America and in Latin America.

Whether the name 'Flying Solo' or its slogan "a taste of freedom" acted against the wine in the Systembolaget verdict is unclear.

The wine importer responded to the ban by sending images of other wines with labels that he thought should also be prohibited according to the letter of the law.

The Australian shiraz Fox Creek shows a fox flying high in the sky in a propeller plane. But Systembolaget said the drawing was too clearly fictional to pose a problem.

He also sent along an image of a chardonnay, where the label depicts a woman in turn-of-the-century garb astride a bicycle - seemingly qualifying as "sport" in the consumer agency directive.

Systembolaget was not swayed by the pastoral scene.

“To cycle on an empty meadow is not the same as delivering post by plane,” the Systembolaget representative wrote in defence of its judgement.

If the Alcohol Products Committee (Alkoholsortimentsnämnden) at Sweden's Legal, Financial and Administrative Services Agency (Kammarkollegiet) upholds the ban, the importer will have to relabel the bottles in order to get them sold.

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Your comments about this article

15:57 December 14, 2012 by johan rebel
What can one say . . . . only in Sweden!
16:11 December 14, 2012 by ardnis
ah ah ! you can see the bottle here:

http://www.gaydavineyards.com/fr/flying-solo/flying-solo-grenache-blanc-viognier
16:47 December 14, 2012 by Blecch
I feel an incredible compulsion to tip one up whilst piloting a biplane... although feel oddly conflicted by the possibility of imbibing astraddle a bicycle in the countryside.
17:26 December 14, 2012 by StockholmSam
Ridiculous and embarrassing. Just sell the damn wine and let all of us adult consumers decide how to act when we drink...that's the way it's going to happen anyway. And since I drive a car frequently but only rarely drive a plane or am in the vicinity of a flying airplane, I am more worried about the drunk cyclist swerving in front of me unexpectedly. Just another example of how the decision-makers are rarely the ones most qualified to make the decisions.
17:44 December 14, 2012 by RobinHood
I drank half a bottle of Flying Solo in 2008 and immedietly resigned from my job as an accountant and retrained to be a pilot for the post office. A job I now frequently do when drunk on this wine. I have a colleague who is a fox, and another who thinks he is the Red Baron. Yet another colleague drinks Spitfire ale, and has bought a .... yes you guessed it. As for the air traffic controller who drinks five litres of Bishops Finger a day, well the less said about him the better.

I am living proof that the people at Systemet are doing a fine job spending their time and taxpayers' money on this sort of thing.
23:38 December 14, 2012 by jack sprat
Hypocrisy in the extreme.

As previously stated, ....only in Sweden.
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