France’s latest domestic threat: wine terrorism

Pascal Parrot/Getty Images Turns out the wine and cheese set isn’t as “civilized” as one would think. At least that’s the case in France’s Languedoc-Roussillon region, which happens to be the world’s biggest wine-growing area by volume, Time reports: Hurting from overproduction and cheap imports and punished lately by the rising cost of gas, a ...

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NIMES, FRANCE - MAY 25: One of 13 wine tanks filled with 13000 hectoliters of imported Chilian wine is emptied by vineyard owners May 25, 2005 in Nimes, France. Vineyard owners gathered in the southern French town of Nimes to protest against falling prices. (Photo by Pascal Parrot/Getty Images)

Pascal Parrot/Getty Images

Pascal Parrot/Getty Images

Turns out the wine and cheese set isn’t as “civilized” as one would think. At least that’s the case in France’s Languedoc-Roussillon region, which happens to be the world’s biggest wine-growing area by volume, Time reports:

Hurting from overproduction and cheap imports and punished lately by the rising cost of gas, a small group of local winegrowers has resorted to “wine terrorism” in a violent attempt to shock the French government into helping them.

Targets have included “public and private buildings, supermarkets, tanker trucks hauling cheap imported wine, and businesses accused of gouging growers with ever shrinking prices.” So far, only one of the guerrilla grape growers has been hurt, but the violence and destruction have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of damage.

While the rising cost of gas has exacerbated their situation, the wine terrorists aren’t exactly a new phenomenon. Last summer, the guerrilla growers released a video threatening “blood will flow” unless the French government moved to raise wine prices. And in 1907, the French army shot six demonstrators during a revolt of winemakers in the region. These grape gripes, it appears, go back a long way.

Patrick Fitzgerald is a researcher at Foreign Policy.

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