Wine floods the streets of French town as ‘war’ breaks out between France and Spain

French and Spanish wine producers are at war over what the French say are ‘cheap’ imports of Spanish wine which they say are undermining local French wines.

A militant wine group (CAV) have claimed responsibility for the latest flashpoint – which saw thousands of litres of wine released from a wine merchants in Sète, a port town in France. The streets of the town and basement car parks were flooded with wine.

French TV station France 3 said tens of thousands of liters of wine were released when the valves of the tanks were opened.

France is the largest buyer of Spanish wine, which has angered many French wine makers. Earlier this year, French farmers attached Spanish lorries and released enough wine for around 90,000 bottles from the lorry tanks out onto the road.

The CAV says that its next move will be to do similar to supermarkets. Entry level wine sells for €32-40 per hectolitre (100L) in Spain compared to around €75 per hectolitre in France.

However, not all wine producers are supportive of the militant action and the Union of Small Farmers and Ranchers condemned the attack.

The CAV says that there is excessive importation of Spanish wines and low prices. However the Spanish authorities are calling for action to be taken against those who hijacked the lorries earlier this year.

French farmers have become increasingly nationalistic in recent years, and Irish meat exports to France have been hit previously, when French farmers put militant pressure on supermarkets and its Government to support French farmers and produce.