Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Meanwhile, in trucking news "Furious French wine makers hijack Spanish tankers, pouring the equivalent of 90,000 bottles of red and white down the drain in protest at “unfair competition”.

150 furious vintners from the Aude and Pyénées-Orientales departments unscrewed the cap on two tankers at Le Boulou, close to the Mediterranean town of Perpignan and less than ten miles from Spain, and emptied their contents onto the motorway on Monday.

Three other Spanish vehicles were allowed to leave with their tanks half empty after having the words "vin non conforme" (non-compliant wine) daubed on their sides. Local police looked on at the “social action”, while French vintners took samples to check for fraudulent wine.

Many wine makers are angry about what they see as a suspicious spike in imports from Spain and Italy, where lower social charges and less red tape enable producers to sell their goods 66% cheaper.

They also claim that many Spanish producers are fraudulently mixing their wines with South American fare, some even slapping “Made in France” labels on the bottles.

Outrage over such fraud led to the region's first and most deadly wine riots in 1907, when hundreds of thousands took to the streets in Narbonne.

French wine makers are so expensive to work with, Tour de France organizers chose a Chilean wine as an official sponsor.

But that alone is enough to infuriate French winemakers in the southwestern Languedoc-Roussillon region, who protested that they would block one of the race stages between Carcassonne and Montpellier

In reaction, to prevent a disruption of the internationally broadcast race, Bicicleta the Chilean wine, will only be advertised at promotional events held when the race briefly enters Switzerland, Andorra and Spain, as under French law no alcohol brands can be promoted during sports events in the country.

Frédéric Rouanet, the president of the Aude department winemakers’ union. “We make prestigious wines and the Tour is part of our cultural and sporting heritage, and therefore our wines should be associated with it,” he said.

 Eight members of parliament from the region have also penned a letter to the agriculture minister, to express their “anger” about the Chilean wine, while the regional president said she “deplored” the decision.

update Aug 2016

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