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How ‘Wine Terrorists’ Flooded a French Town with Red Wine

In the past, CRAV has been suspected of destroying vines in the Languedoc, lighting the offices of one of France’s biggest winemakers on fire, plotting to disrupt the tour de France, and destroying thousands of liters of Spanish wine.

by Nick Rose
Aug 4 2016, 9:00pm

Foto von lance robotson via Flickr

Imagine waking up in a sleepy town in the south of France. You hear the whirl of a stream from below and smell wafts of grenache coming in from your window. You look down onto Maréchal-Juin Avenue and see the streets running inches deep in red wine. Surely, it's a dream.

But it's not, it's actually a nightmare—at least for one local wine distributor. That's because this impossibly French scene is exactly what happened in the port commune of Sète earlier this week after five giant vats belonging to Biron wine distributor were sabotaged and emptied of their contents.

READ MORE: Are French Winemakers Destroying Each Other's Vines?

How much wine is required to flood the center of a small town? According to reports, about 50,000 litres is what it took for the streets of Sète to be overrun run with wine. But the real question is who would sabotage all that delicious French wine? And the answer to that question is even more shocking: French winemakers.

Within hours, France 3 reported that CRAV, a group of militant winemakers (or "terrorists," depending who you ask) that is notorious for employing violent tactics, was behind the attacks. CRAV was the main suspect from the outset and ultimately claimed responsibility. "We are not being heard," a masked man with a blurred face and distorted voice said, speaking on behalf of CRAV in a video. "Sure, we can ask unions to do something, but it's not bearing any fruit."

In the past, CRAV has been suspected of destroying vines in the Languedoc, lighting the offices of one of France's biggest winemakers on fire, plotting to disrupt the Tour de France, and destroying thousands of liters of Spanish wine. But making the streets run red has to be their boldest move yet to sensitize people to the plight of winemakers. If only they could stop wasting all of that wine.