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Wine demonstrations held across France

Winemakers, growers and representatives of the French wine sector descended onto the streets yesterday to protest against current legislative threats to the industry.

The largest demonstration was held in Bordeaux, but other rallies were held in wine centres across the country including Nantes, Angers, Blois, Bergerac, Nîmes, Avignon, Gaillac, Arbois, Sancerre, Epernay and Cognac.

Although many winemakers in Bordeaux are still busy in their wineries, the presidents of key appellations, together with Sylvie Cazes, president of the UGC, Alain Vironneau, the president of the wine trade body (CIVB), and Bernard Fargues, president of the Bordeaux and Bordeaux Superieur Union (the region’s biggest, with 4,500 members), attended the demonstrations on their behalf.

Bordeaux mayor Alain Juppe also attended, declaring his solidarity and saying that, ‘prohibition doesn’t work’.

The demonstrators drew attention to the of censorship of wine in the press, the proposed tax raises on wine, the ban on wine advertising on the internet, and the possible banning of free wine tastings to the public.

To symbolise the threat, road signs to places that also carry the name of an appellation, including Bordeaux, Sauternes and Barsac, were covered with the word ‘censored’.

‘Wine is the national product that stands above all others as a symbol of France, and to lambast those who make and promote it is highly destructive,’ Andre Lurton, owner of numerous properties in Bordeaux, told decanter.com.

He said the National Association of Prevention on Alcohol and Addiction (ANPAA), the organisation behind most of the anti-alcohol measures, had refused to meet with the wine industry, and was targeting wine rather than beer or vodka, ‘because we don’t have a powerful lobby in Brussels’.

Written by Jane Anson in Bordeaux

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