Too Much of a Good Thing

No one reveres wine more than the French, but it turns out that even they can have too much of a good thing. The Confederation of French Wine Cooperatives recently asked the European Union for permission to convert 66 million gallons of wine--333 million bottles--into industrial-grade alcohol, including ethanol for French cars. Why? A large grape harvest in 2004 has fed a glut in the French wine market, which is already reeling from tumbling demand. Domestic wine consumption--which makes up 70% of the industry's sales--has dropped sharply in recent years, owing to changing health attitudes, a crackdown on drunk driving and...

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