Militants claiming allegiance to an activist winemaker group in southern France have flooded the streets of a port town in Languedoc after smashing open a merchant's wine vats.

Photo credit: Midi-Libre

Balaclava-clad wine terrorists attacked the Biron merchant in Sete overnight, local media reported.

They cracked open five vats, sending wine gushing into the nearby streets of the port town. Sete is around 20 minutes by car from Montpellier in Languedoc-Roussillon.

Miliants claimed allegiance to the activist winemaker group CRAV, short for Regional Action Committee of Winemakers and sometimes known just as CAV.

It follows an arson attack on offices owned by the Vinadeis wine group. And it shows that anger over imports of Spanish wine has hit breaking point.

Emergency services arrived on the scene in Sete to contain the spread of wine and stop it from flooding nearby carparks. No one is believed to have been injured.

One CRAV representative told France 3 television in Languedoc, ‘Why did we do it? Because we are never listened to.’

He repeated an oft-cited allegation by the group that some Spanish wine entering France had come from South America. There is no proof.

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Tension runs high

Tension has risen in Languedoc over the issue of Spanish imports. In April, winemakers hijacked a lorry carrying Spanish wine into France and emptied its contents onto the motorway.

Frederic Rouanet, union leader for winemakers in Languedoc’s Aude region, near Narbonne, has condemned the attacks.

But, Rouanet told Decanter.com that he, too, had concerns about the amount of Spanish wine entering France and heading to major supermarkets.

Critics say that winemakers must accept competition. But Rouanet argued there was not a level playing field because of lower taxes and more relaxed regulation in Spain.

Languedoc has re-vamped its reputation in the past two decades, with several areas increasingly known for quality wine.

But, there are still many who have struggled in an era of falling consumption in France and stronger international competition.

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