All over France, supermarkets are finally replacing school supplies with a far more exciting product: wine. Late September brings the traditional Foires aux vins, or wine fairs, to all of Frances supermarket chains. From Auchan to Champion, supermarkets and the even bigger hypermarkets, or superstores, offer an attractive range of wines at reasonable prices. The French press hops on the bandwagon, publishing a myriad of articles about strategic buying and the years best deals.
The wine fairs come in for some criticism, though. According to the French newspaper Libération, French consumers buy 70% of their wine through mass distribution channels. Small wine merchants obviously feel the pinch as the fairs, which started in the 1970s, have become highly publicized and increasingly grandiose. Supermarket representatives, however, emphasize that the events help the ailing French wine industry. One thing is certain: buying wine at one or more Foires aux vins has become an annual tradition for wine-drinkers all over the country.
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