(Above: Not the best way to rack your wine. From Time: A commando vineyard owner empties one of 13 wine tanks filled with Chilean wine in Nimes, France. Photo Credit: Pascal Parrot / Getty)
Perhaps adding some real bite to the enoterm terroirist, there’s an article at Time Magazine about the recent explosion of a homemade bomb at a small winery in Limoux (click here for my earlier post on this subject). Local vigneron and amateur explosives enthusiast Jérôme Soulère was apprehended by authorities after the accidental detonation of one of his devices at his winery. Soulère was at the hospital when nabbed by police; as it turns out, he’s a member of the comité régional d’action viticole, aka CRAV, a group of militant winemakers active in southern France that was formed, as the group claims, to protest against the consequences of a globalized wine industry.
I’m not one to condone violence, and frankly these guys seem pretty loony to me. But they have a point, or more relevantly, they believe they’ve got a point and they’re willing to go to extremes to get people to listen. Still, something doesn’t sit right with using the tag ‘terrorist’ here…
Anyway, that’s open to debate.
From the article:
CRAV’s commando operations began with the 2005 bombing of a state agricultural building. CRAV members, or independent sympathizers, have repeatedly carried out bombings or acts of vandalism since, including three acts of property destruction in a 10 day span in May this year alone. In mid-July, CRAV logos were discovered spray-painted at a Narbonne agriculture collective whose vandalized vats had drained nearly 132,000 gallons of wine on the ground — an estimated loss of around $450,000. Last year, it sent a video to newly-elected President Nicolas Sarkozy demanding assistance to the region’s grape growers, or “blood will flow”.
Quixotic as it may seem to outsiders, the group — and many Langeudoc-Rousillon growers who support its aims while condemning the violence used to achieve them — want the French government to protect them from a rapidly globalizing market. Foreign wine from cheaper producers such as Italy, Spain, Australia, the US, and South America — where costs can be one-fifth of those in France — has saturated the market, and driven down demand for locally-grown grapes. That has depressed the price Langeudoc-Rousillon growers get for their crops by up to 50% in recent years.