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Angry French Farmers Poured 90,000 Bottles of Spanish Wine Down the Drain

Farmers protesting foreign food imports at a border crossing between France and Spain ransacked five Spanish wine trucks this week, draining the equivalent of 90,000 bottles.
Phoebe Hurst
London, GB
Photo via Flickr user vagawi

France's farmers have been pissed off for awhile now. Taking issue with cheap foreign food imports they say are flooding the French market and driving down prices for local producers, they've tried everything from dumping manure on government buildings to blockading borders to pressure lawmakers for better protection of France's homegrown produce.

Things got particularly ugly this week after an altercation surrounding a product close to many French hearts: le vin.


READ MORE: Farmers Are Trying to Protect France's Food by Blocking the Borders

On Monday, French farmers protesting at a border crossing between France and Spain ransacked five Spanish trucks attempting to transport wine into the country. As The Daily Telegraph reports, the angry farmers poured the equivalent of 90,000 bottles of Spanish wine down the drain and wrote the phrase "vin non conforme" ("non-compliant wine") on the side of the trucks.

For the farmers, foreign wine means unfair competition for France's local producers. They say that lower charges and less red tape allow Spanish and Italian vineyards to sell their product at a cheaper price than French winemakers. This may account for the recent spike in French imports of Spanish wine, which rose 40 percent between 2013 and 2014 to reach 580 million litres.

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There are even claims that some Spanish winemakers fraudulently slap their bottles with "Made in France" labels. Sacré bleu!

Spain, on the other hand, isn't best pleased with thousands of litres of its plonk being drained away. The foreign ministry in Madrid has summoned the French ambassador, calling the attack a "flagrant violation of various basic principles" of the EU. The Spanish federation of freight transportation is also pretty annoyed, accusing French police of allowing the protesting farmers to "act with impunity."

France's farmers, meanwhile, show no sign of ending their protests. It seems that, for them—if you mess with our wine, you mess with us.