Thousands of French winemakers have marched through the streets to protest against a growing culture of prohibition in France.

Winemakers across southern France, from Bordeaux to Provence, took to the streets in largely peaceful protests yesterday (30 October).

Their aim was to highlight what they believe is the government's anti-wine stance, and to complain at the increasingly powerful anti-acohol lobby in France.

The protests came only a week after French health minister, Roselyne Bachelot, unveiled plans to ban all sales of alcohol to under-18s, as part of a new strategy to target excess drinking among the country's young people.

Many in the wine industry are also frustrated at a lack of progress over online publicity for alcoholic drinks. Alcohol adverts on the web remain effectively banned, following a court ruling earlier this year stating that France's alcohol advertising law, the Loi Evin, made no allowance for the internet.

"In my opinion there is a climate of prohibition in France," said Julien Pichoff, who has helped to set up a new association called Vin & Internet to fight for advertising rights on the web.

Pichoff told just-drinks today (31 October) that the French government's attempt to raise the drinking age was "misinformed".

Proposals for restricting alcohol advertising on the internet, put forward in July, would treat drinks adverts in a similar way to pornography on the web, according to plans leaked to several journalists, including just-drinks.