An angry group of Bordeaux winemakers heaped a tonne of manure outside a wine broker’s office yesterday, in protest at his commercial activities.
The protesters, members of Jeunes Agriculteurs (the young farmers’ union), dumped the manure in the early hours of the morning before waiting for the arrival of the broker.
Brandishing a contract reportedly given to them by a fellow winemaker, the activists denounced the broker for selling wine at €700 per barrel (tonneau). The Bordeaux and Bordeaux Supérieur union attempted to establish a minimum price of €1,000 per barrel in December in a effort to halt falling wine prices.
According to winemakers, the figure of €1,000 per barrel is the minimum price to ensure their livelihood.
The broker, Stéphane Page, was confronted by Yohan Bardeau, the leader of the demonstrators. During the ensuing 20-minute discussion Page defended his actions saying the minimum price did not reflect the current market.
‘I can see that €700 per barrel isn’t viable for some producers,’ Page told France 3. ‘But if the price is at €700 and stays at €700 for two years, I will, unfortunately, continue to sell at €700 because that’s my job.’
The action of the Jeunes Agriculteurs mirrors that of the FNSEA union (Fédération Nationale des Syndicats d’Exploitants Agricoles) which recently bricked up the Bordeaux trade body’s HQ in a similar protest.
Written by Oliver Styles