Red wine flooded the streets of a port town in Languedoc, southern France, after militants attacked the Biron merchant in Sete and smashed five wine vats.
As reported by Decanter.com, the the militants claimed allegiance to the activist winemaker group CRAV, short for Regional Action Committee of Winemakers, and sometimes known just as CAV.
One CRAV representative told France 3 television in Languedoc, “Why did we do it? Because we are never listened to”. He also repeated an oft-cited allegation by the group that some Spanish wine entering France had come from South America. But there is no proof.
Tension has risen in Languedoc over the issue of Spanish imports. In April, winemakers hijacked a lorry carrying Spanish wine into France and emptied its contents onto the motorway, reported Decanter.com.
Frederic Rouanet, union leader for winemakers in Languedoc’s Aude region, near Narbonne, has condemned the attacks.
But, Rouanet told Decanter.com that he, too, had concerns about the amount of Spanish wine entering France and heading to major supermarkets.
Critics say winemakers must accept competition. But Rouanet argued there was not a level playing field because of lower taxes and more relaxed regulation in Spain.
As reported by Decanter.com on July 21, a group of 30 balaclava-clad militants ransacked the Vinadeis offices in Languedoc.
In a video shown by France 3, one balaclava-clad militant delivered a message to camera as others stood behind with arms folded; one holding a large pair of wire cutters.
The attackers said local winemakers were sitting on full vats of wine only weeks ahead of harvest, and blamed big companies in Languedoc for “importing cheap wine”.