French winemakers attack French supermarkets for stocking cheap Spanish wine
Some French winemakers show no signs of calming down in their dispute over what they see as cheap Spanish wine imports destroying their own domestic market.
There has been another wave of attacks and disruption over the last couple of weeks as French retailers have now been targeted by more militant French winemakers for their perceived ‘disloyalty’ in buying and selling cheap Spanish wine.
Trouble broke out last week in Gard, Occitanie, when winemakers caused damage to the wine aisles at Metro in Quessargues and Géant Casino in Nîmes, where they piled up Spanish wine into trolleys before smashing the bottles outside in the car park and dumping them. There have been other instances across the region, with French winemakers destroying displays of Spanish bag in box wines at a branch of Carrefour near Montpellier.
They claim the action is aimed at halting the growing trend for big supermarkets to negotiate high-volume deals with Spanish winemakers rather than buying locally produced wine from Languedoc-Roussillon. The French winemakers say the competition is unfair as wine is considerably cheaper to produce in Spain, where land and labour costs are lower.
The issue has been picked up by French national television like this report on France 2 TV which highlights Mathieu Calégari, whose entire 2016 crop remains unsold. “We have almost 1,000 hectolitres, it is beautiful this wine, but I cannot sell it, there is no explanation,” he told the programme.
It is thought up to 150 wine cooperatives have closed in Languedoc-Roussillon over the last 30 years.
The dispute was also played out in the recent French election, with winemakers protesting in Narbonne about cheap Spanish wine.
There are calls being made to President Macron and the new French government to take steps to help winemakers and producers and to protect their trade.