There have been further verbal attacks on French government policy by the country's wine growers.

French news agency AFP reported that the Wine Academy of France at its AGM accused the government of using "scare tactics" to cut down on alcohol abuse.

The Academy said the government was "demonising" wine drinkers and "sweeping to one side" the cultural importance of the wine industry to France.

A statement from the Academy said: "Wine is becoming a synonym of alcoholism thanks to the sword-thrusts of the French state. We are set on an extremely dangerous course. It is not consumption that is bad -- but excessive consumption."