French winemakers have drained five tanks filled with Spanish wine onto a motorway ten miles from the border between the two countries, to protest the increasing level of wine imports into the French market.
Approximately 150 winemakers from the southern departments of Aude and Pyrénées Orientales had positioned themselves at a toll barrier on Monday 4 April to monitor the number of wine trucks entering France from Spain, reports Vitisphere.com.
The group then targeted five tankers, spilling an estimated 70,000 litres of wine onto the motorway.
Frédéric Rouanet, president of the winegrowers of Aude, told Vitisphere.com, “In two hours, we stopped five trucks. This is a breakneck pace. This is a disaster. We want to verify the traceability and compliance of these wines.”
The incident comes after it was revealed that France is now the biggest buyer of Spanish wine, purchasing 580 million litres from its neighbour in 2014.
Spain was named the biggest wine producer in the world in that same year, producing 51 million hectolitres of wine (although Italy has since overtaken Spain).
Rouanet alleges that 28,000 trucks filled with wine arrived in France from Spain in 2015, and that bulk shipping meant that this wine could be sold at a cheaper price.
The protesters also say that the provenance of wines entering France in tankers from Spain is not being verified, and that the wine is not being made in line with EU regulations, according to Larf.com (website for La Revue du Vin de France).
Some reportedly went as far as to write ‘vin non conforme’ (wine not compliant) on the side of the Spanish trucks.
While no arrests have been made, French police say that the incident is being investigated.
© 2016 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Jenny Whelan. To subscribe to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine, click here.