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Chablis winemakers angry over planned tar factory

Winemakers are mounting a vigorous battle against a planned tar production plant in the heart of Chablis and Irancy that threatens the eco-system of the region’s vineyards.

Winemakers are furious that the tar plant set to sit between Chablis and Irancy in Burgundy has been approved without their consent.

Tar contains hydrocarbon molecules that may contaminate grapes through both air and water supply, they argue.

Plans for the plant say that it will be located in Saint-Cyr-les-Colons and will produce 500 tonnes of asphalt per hour with a life expectancy of 25 years. That is likely to require vast amounts of fuel.

Asphalt is commonly known as tar and any produced by the new plant will be used to widen the existing A6 motorway linking Paris to Lyon.

‘The project has arrived at near sign-off – even passing through the National Appellations Institute – without those of us who will be directly affect being given any opportunity to react,’ said Julian Brocard, of Domaines Jean-Marc Brocard.

‘There are plenty of other sites that we have identified, and even offered to purchase on their behalf, that takes the industrial plant to a safe distance from the vines and other population centres,’ he told Decanter.com.

‘If it goes ahead as planned, there is a serious risk of the pollution interfering with the delicate environment of our vineyards.

‘Those of us who vinify with natural yeasts that grow on grape skins will be severely affected,’ said Brocard.

‘Chablis is renowned for the purity of its aromatic profile and anything that risks that would do incalculable damage. We have to fight this on behalf of consumers all over the world who love our wines.’

A decision is expected from the regional government at the end of October.

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