The wine war between Spain and France has intensified.
On April 4, approximately 150 French wine producers attacked five Spanish trucks at Le Boulou in southwestern France, about 10 miles from the Spanish border, as a protest against “unfair competition.”
During the assault, the equivalent of 90,000 bottles of wine were dumped into the streets as the French growers wrote “vin non conforme,” or “non-compliant wine” on the side of the tankers.
“If a French wine maker produced wine with Spanish rules, he simply wouldn’t be able to sell it," said Frederic Rouanet, president of the Aude winemakers’ union. "Europe’s all very well, but with the same rules for all."
The Spanish Federation of Freight Transportation accused French police of letting the protestors "act with impunity." France’s top state representative of the region reported that he would investigate the accusations that fraudulent Spanish wine was entering France, as the incident occurred after reports stated that France is the primary importer of Spanish wine.
In 2015, Italy produced 48.9 million hectoliters of wine, followed by 47.4 million hectoliters in France. In 2014, Spain was the world’s largest wine producer with 51 million hectoliters.
According to The Drinks Business, the Spanish government reported the occurrence to the European Commission as a violation of the terms of member states within the European Union.
"These incidents, which are occurring all too frequently, are grounds for concern for the Government of Spain, since they represent a flagrant violation of various basic principles of the European Union, such as the free movement of goods among Member States and other principles relating to property and the security of goods and people," the statement said. "[..] Spain has already officially passed on its protest to the French authorities, and urges them to adopt all appropriate measures to guarantee, with absolute security, the free movement of people and goods, one of the basic principles of the European Union."
Denis Pigouche, president of a Pyrenees-Orientales winemaker association, stated that the Spanish "have no place in France." However, others said the protestors’ behavior is unjustified.
"I do not know all of the details of this incident, but winemakers have to accept competition – we are all in Europe," said Olivier Casteja, of Chateau Doisy-Vedrines in Sauternes, as reported by Decanter.