Wine merchants in Gascony in southwest France are taking Californian wines off the shelves in retaliation to the foie gras ban.
Foie gras has been outlawed across California as a law banning force-feeding of animals came into force on 1 July.
Now in the Gers in southern France, the centre of world foie gras production, local winemakers are doing their bit to show solidarity to the region’s many producers, following suggestions from local politician Philippe Martin.
As only tiny amounts of Californian wine are sold in this part of France, it is largely a symbolic move, seen as a way of protecting a delicacy that is a key part of French culture.
‘Periodic bans in the United States have happened with our cheeses, with our wines, and now with our foie gras,’ Michel Laporte of the Cave des Pyrénées in Auch, and regional head of the trade group the Féderation des Cavistes Independents, told Decanter.com.
‘California may represent only 3 or 4% of overall sales of foie gras for France, but it is symbolic, and important to show we will defend our heritage.’
Although Laporte stresses that his move is a personal one, he has written to the national president of the FCI, asking for its position on the issue.
At the same time, French foie gras distributors in the US, along with American producers of the delicacy, are taking the Californian government to court.
Plaintiffs in the suit, filed last week, include Hudson Valley Foie Gras, Association des Éleveurs de Canards et d’Oies du Québec andCalifornia corporation Hot’s Restaurant Group Inc, alleging that the law is unclear, and unfairly places a burden on restaurants and distributors to establish exactly which products are banned.
Written by Jane Anson in Bordeaux