Since ancient times, wine has been appreciated as an enhancement to meals and a beverage of enjoyment by cultures throughout the world. Members of the Wine Institute are proud of their wines and are committed to ensuring their wines are promoted responsibly to those adults who choose to consume them.
We have a right to advertise and promote our wines to consumers of legal drinking age. Along with this right comes the responsibility and commitment to market our wines to adults in a responsible and appropriate manner. This commitment includes the responsible content and placement of all communications concerning our wines.
Informal principles of good advertising practice for the winegrowing industry were first adopted in 1949. This code is designed to encourage continued high standards so that California wine advertising may increasingly be viewed as a positive contribution to society.
All advertising in all forms – including, but not limited to Internet, mobile and other digital marketing communications, product labels, packaging, direct mail, point-of-sale, outdoor, displays, sponsorships, promotions, radio, television, movies, video, print media and product placements – shall adhere to both the letter and the spirit of this Code.
These guidelines shall apply to all active members of Wine Institute. “Wine” as used in this Code means wine and wine coolers.
- 1. Wine advertising shall encourage the responsible consumption of wine and shall be adult-oriented and socially responsible. Therefore wine advertising shall not depict or describe in its advertising:
- a. The consumption of wine for the effects the alcohol content may produce.
- b. Direct or indirect reference to alcohol content or extra strength, except as otherwise required by law or regulation.
- c. Excessive drinking or persons who appear to be intoxicated or to be inappropriately uninhibited.
- d. Any suggestion that excessive drinking or loss of control is amusing or a proper subject for amusement.
- e. Any persons engaged in activities not normally associated with the moderate and responsible use of wine and a responsible lifestyle. Association of wine use in conjunction with feats of daring or activities requiring high degree of skill is specifically prohibited.
- f. Wine in quantities inappropriate to the situation or inappropriate for moderate and responsible use.
- g. Wine advertising should not depict or encourage illegal activity of any kind.
- 2. Advertising of wine has traditionally depicted persons enjoying their lives and illustrating the role of wine in a mature lifestyle. Any attempt to suggest that wine directly contributes to success or achievement is unacceptable. Therefore, the following restrictions shall apply:
- a. Wine shall not be presented as being essential to personal performance, social attainment, achievement, success or wealth.
- b. The use of wine shall not be directly associated with social, physical or personal problem solving.
- c. Wine shall not be presented as vital to social acceptability and popularity.
- d. It shall not be suggested that wine is crucial for successful entertaining.
- 3. Any advertisement which has particular appeal to persons below the legal drinking age is unacceptable, even if it also appeals to adults. Therefore, wine advertising shall not:
- a. Show models and personalities as wine consumers in advertisements who are or appear to be under the legal drinking age. Such models shall be 25 years of age or older.
- b. Use music, language, gestures, cartoon characters, or depictions, images, figures, or objects that are popular predominantly with children or otherwise specifically associated with or directed toward those below the legal drinking age, including the use of Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny.
- c. Be presented as being related to the attainment of adulthood or associated with "rites of passage" to adulthood.
- d. Suggest that wine is similar to another type of beverage or product (e.g., milk, soda, candy) having particular appeal to persons below the legal drinking age.
- e. Use entertainment or sports celebrities having a particular appeal to persons below the legal drinking age. These selections should be substantiated by research demonstrating the basis for selection and periodically evaluated.
- 4. Wine advertising shall in no way suggest that wine be used in connection with operating motorized vehicles such as automobiles, motorcycles, boats, snowmobiles, or airplanes or any activities that require a high degree of alertness or physical coordination.
- 5. Wine advertising shall make no curative or therapeutic claims except as permitted by law.
- 6. Comparative advertising claims shall be truthful and appropriately substantiated and shall not be disparaging of a competitor’s product.
- 7. Wine advertising shall not degrade, demean, or objectify the human form, image or status of women, men, or of any ethnic, minority, religious or other group or sexual orientation. Advertising shall not exploit the human form, or feature sexually provocative images.
- 8. Wine advertising shall not be directed to pregnant women. Wine advertising shall not portray excessive drinking.
- 9. Wine advertising shall not reinforce nor trivialize the problem of violence in our society. Therefore, wine advertising shall not associate wine with abusive or violent relationships or situations.
- 10. A distinguishing and unique feature of wine is that it is traditionally served with meals or immediately before or following a meal. Therefore, wine advertising when appropriate should include food.
- 11. Wine advertising and marketing materials should reflect generally accepted standards of good taste.
- 1. Wine advertising is intended for adults of legal drinking age who choose to drink. Wine should not be advertised or marketed in any manner directly or primarily appealing to persons below legal drinking age. Therefore, wine advertising shall not be placed in media with substantial underage appeal and shall not:
- a. Appear in children or juvenile magazines, newspapers, television programs, radio programs or other media specifically oriented to persons below the legal drinking age.
- b. Appear in any media where more than 28.4% of the audience is underage (determined by using reliable, up-to-date audience composition data).
- c. Be placed on the premises of college and university campuses or in newspapers published by, or primarily for, a college or university. However, members may advertise in licensed retail establishments located on such campuses or may participate in programs organized by or for graduate or professional schools or alumni organizations.
- 2. Wine advertising shall be placed in digital media as follows:
- a. Members shall be mindful that online advertising may be viewed by underaged individuals and shall take steps to ensure that online content remains consistent with provisions of this code.
- b. A member should employ an age affirmation mechanism on the homepage that restricts access only to viewers who affirm their legal drinking age before access to any area of the site. Any linkage to a member website page that bypasses its home page should include an age affirmation mechanism.
- c. Member websites should employ a third party age verification mechanism that will verify the legal drinking age of online purchasers of wine at the point of purchase.
- 3. Members placing products in visual media, regardless of the visual media’s rating, shall strive to depict wine appropriately and consistently with other provisions of this code. Members placing product shall be guided by the following principles:
- a. Product placement decisions shall be made on a case-by-case basis based upon the information about the movie, television program, music video, or video game available at the time provided by the project’s producers;
- b. Product placements shall not be made where the characters engage in illegal or irresponsible consumption of wine in connection with driving, where characters use wine irresponsibly or abusively, or where alcoholism is portrayed; and
- c. Product placements shall not portray the purchase or consumption of wine by persons who are below the legal drinking age.
- 4. To the extent feasible, wine advertising shall not be placed in or directly adjacent to television or radio programs or print media that dramatize or glamorize over-consumption or inappropriate use of alcoholic beverages.
- 5. Wine advertising should not be placed on any outdoor stationary location within five hundred (500) linear feet of an established place of worship, an elementary school or secondary school except on a licensed premise.
- 6. Wine advertising should not be placed at events unless at least 70 percent of the audience who are intended to view the advertising is reasonably expected to be above the legal drinking age.
September 13, 2005