The skill set of French winemakers seems to go well beyond winemaking.
Sudvin, one of the largest wine producers in Southern France, was attacked by a gang of 30 balaclava-clad militants last week as reported by Decanter magazine. According to the militants, a shadowy group of winemakers called Comité Régionale d’Action Viticole (CRAV), Sudvin was importing cheap wine from Spain in lieu of purchasing the local grapes and so the group broke into the offices, destroyed the furniture and computers and set the building on fire. The tanks of wine were targeted as well but were empty.
Earlier this year, French winemakers hijacked Spanish wine tankers destroying thousands of bottles in protest over unfair competition. CRAV has been engaged in similar actions for years as French wine consumption declines and consumers seek ever lower prices.
Sudvin and their parent company Vinadeis deny that imported Spanish wine is a significant part of their production. Nevertheless, France is now the biggest buyer of Spanish wine – purchasing 580 million litres in 2014 and many bulk wine producers in the South of France struggle to survive. Rumor has it that French companies buy Spanish wine in bulk, bottle it and sell it as French wine.
I understand the frustrations of the French winemakers but to be honest Spanish wine is of much higher quality at the lower price points and is far cheaper.