Sunday, May 27, 2007

Thugs in the Languedoc

There is a play on words in the wine industry for those who are dedicated to Terroir in the extreme — they are often referred to as “TERROIRists”. This post has nothing to do with them. This is the real deal, the real spelling, the TERRORists of the wine industry in France.

Believe it or not, a group of thugs who call themselves the Regional Committee for Viticultural Action are vowing “blood will flow” if President Nicolas Sarkozy does not enable makers of French table wine to increase prices within a month. The group’s message was communicated by the all too familiar guys in black ski masks and was broadcast on French television.

Apparently there is some action behind all the tough talk as the group has been spotted in Southern France shooting at trucks transporting foreign wine, debilitating trains doing the same, and vandalizing supermarkets that sell wines from around the globe.

Although they say globalization is to blame, at the heart of the group’s bellyaching is the government subsidization of French table wine. Table wine is the — mostly — characterless stuff that has been guzzled in many a French bistro through the years. In the past, makers of this mass produced vin rouge and vin blanc have relied on the government to issue a minimum price for their wines. This subsidized pricing is on the verge of disappearing and many table wine producers will no doubt go out of business. Add to it the fact that the French are drinking less, but higher quality, wine nowadays and you see the predicament. Certainly worthy of terrorist acts, no?!

Perhaps these grape gangsters should get a grip and put their energies toward finding a market for their wines in today’s global industry. Better they arm themselves with improved vineyard techniques, higher quality wines and a good old-fashioned marketing campaign than black masks and explosives. Let’s hope it doesn’t ferment! Peace-out.

1 comment:

  1. Holy Crap!

    They should take advantage of the world market and start shipping their stuff to places like India and China where their wine is no doubt better quality then the low-end stuff there.