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French winemaker threats secure Tour de France deal

Organisers of the Tour de France 2016 have agreed a promotional deal with winemakers in southern France in order to avoid a threatened blockade of the annual cycling race.

Winemakers in the Aude area of Languedoc-Roussillon had threatened to disrupt the Tour de France 2016 when it passed through their region, because the organising body had earlier signed up a Chilean wine brand as an event sponsor.

But, a deal has been struck to end the stand-off, following meetings in Narbonne between Frédéric Rouanet, président des Vignerons de l’Aude, Christian Prudhomme, general director of Tour de France, and Jérôme Despey from France AgriMer.

The trio agreed to a deal ‘offering French winemakers the chance to create a flag for French wine, in addition to separate flags for regional products’, Prudhomme told French TV station France 3.

‘We understand the emotion of winemakers,’ he added.

Frédéric Rouanet told Decanter.com, ‘With this proposition, we will not need to block the Tour de France and we know that the Tour de France will be associated with [French] wine this year.’

Prudhomme said that no French wine brand had applied to be Tour de France sponsor before a deal was agreed with Chile’s Cono Sur in 2015.

Cono Sur’s Bicicleta can only be promoted at Tour de France stages outside of France – this  year Spain, Switzerland and Andorra – because of French restrictions on promoting alcoholic drinks at sporting events.

Editing by Chris Mercer

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