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Sauternes producers protest to Hollande over trainline

Sauternes and Barsac producers have complained to French president Francois Hollande that a proposed 8bn euro railway line from Bordeaux to Dax will ruin their vineyards by disrupting local ecosystems.

Bordeaux‘s sweet wine producers are concerned the proposed high speed trainline connecting Toulouse, Bordeaux and Dax is close to being approved. Sauternes producers sent an open letter to president Hollande in June, but have received no reply.

‘There is an increasing sense of frustration that our concerns are not being listened to,’ Xavier Planty, co-owner of Chateau Guiraud, told Decanter.com. Winemakers fear politicians ‘will steamroll over our objections’, he said.

The open letter reminds Hollande of his own speech given on 27 November about the importance of taking environmental concerns into account when making decisions on infrastructure development.

It also says that the public inquiry held on the trainline gathered 14,000 opinions and 90% of respondents opposed the project.

‘The results were clear,’ says the letter, signed by Les Vignerons de Sauternes et Barsac and by environmental action groups across Bordeaux, Les Landes and the Pays-Basque regions of southwest France.

‘The need for this line is not shared by the public that it will supposedly serve. The finances for the project is uncertain and the potential economic benefits are unclear’.

But, the report was only advisory and France’s government has a goal to open 225 miles of new railway lines by 2030.

A report into the official public enquiry rejected the complaints of the Sauternes producers, but also said that there was no compelling need for the trainline.

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