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Bordeaux motorway proposal sparks outrage

A proposal to build a motorway through Margaux’s famous terroir has sparked a backlash from the region’s producers.

The planned motorway is part of a larger project aimed at connecting northern Europe to Spain and would include a bridge spanning the Gironde or the Garonne and the Dordogne.

More than 70 chateaux, including the famed Chateau Palmer and Chateau Margaux, signed an open letter to the Gironde prefecture, arguing the proposed motorway would be an ‘intolerable assault on some of the most iconic examples of France’s cultural heritage’.

Three of the five proposed routes will either cut the Margaux appellation area in two or go around it. Other appellations that could be affected under the proposal include the Medoc, Haut Medoc, Listrac-Medoc, Moulis, Cotes de Blaye and Cotes de Bourg.

Gonzague Lurton, president of the Margaux winemakers’ union (Sydnicat Viticole de Margaux), said there had been no consultation with the producers and the petition was just the first stage of the fight. He added the union hoped to meet with the prefecture before a recommendation was made to the Ministry of Transportation in September.

Vincent Fabre, the president of the Medoc and Haut-Medoc winemakers’ union (Sydnicat Viticole Medoc et Haut-Medoc), said producers on the left and right banks would fight the proposal together.

‘We are not against building a bridge but what has been proposed is completely crazy,’ he said. ‘The winegrowers will work very hard to try and stop the project.’

Margaux wine producers have set up a website – www.margaux-danger.com – to fight the proposal. Some 1,157 signatures have been added to the petition against the planned motorway.

The Federation des Syndicats des grands vins has also issued a statement, stating its opposition to the proposal on the basis of a lack of consultation and the potential damage a motorway would cause to soils of AOC areas.

Written by Jemima Whyte

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