A TANKER full of Spanish red wine has been emptied on a roadside in France as producers protest over imports. The furious French wine makers attacked four trucks releasing 70,000 litres of cut-price wine.
Less than 10 miles from the Spanish border the wine gushed over the highway as the disgruntled wine-makers took action against cheap Spanish imports.
A trade war between the two countries has been brewing over the wine industry as the cheaper Spanish wine, and also Italian, threatens that of the French. France is now the biggest buyer of Spanish wine.
The incident happened near a motorway at Le Boulou, close to the Mediterranean town of Perpignan and less than 10 miles from Spain.
President of the wine producers in the south-west Aude department, Frederic Rouanet, confirmed that four tankers were emptied, with 70,000 litres of wine wasted.
Protesters even took to scribbling graffiti on the side of the Spanish trucks, with slogans including ‘wine not compliant’. Many French wine-makers think that Spanish wine is sub-standard and not produced in accordance with EU regulations.
Mr Rouanet said: “We’ve been checking the wine coming in for a month, but nobody cares. Today we got tough.”
Although the producers don’t like it, the figures show that Spanish wine is proving popular in France. The latest figures show that France is now the biggest buyer of Spanish wine, purchasing 580 million litres in 2014, a rise of 40 per cent from 2013.
France used to be the world’s biggest wine producer but now it seems that Italy and Spain are snapping at their neighbour’s heels and overtaking France in production quantities.
Plus generally French wine is more expensive, selling at a minimum of £3.90 a litre abroad, compared with £1.95 for Italian wine and 91p for Spanish wine.
French police are investigating the incident but no arrests have been made yet.
Mr Rouanet continued in the attack on Spanish wine: “If a French vineyard produced wine using the Spanish regulations, he quite simply couldn’t sell it.
“I want Europe to work, but with the same laws for everyone,” said Mr Rouanet. He added that 28,000 trucks filled with wine had arrived in France from Spain in 2015.
Wine is bought in bulk from Spain meaning that France can bottle it themselves and sell it on at a profit rather than using their own grapes. They would use the term ‘of Spanish origin’ on the bottle.