Anyone who doubts the French commitment to wine need only check out the BBC’s story about a “shadowy group” from France’s Languedoc region. The Union for Viticultural Action has a plucky-but-terrifying demand: Raise the price of wine, or the blood starts flowing.
The ultimatum appears to be driven by a number of factors. Low-priced foreign wines are eroding the local market. Vintners are reportedly killing themselves as their traditional way of life slowly disintegrates. And a change in government may open the door to new policies. Whether newly elected president Nicolas Sarkozy’s conservative government—which just received a greater parliamentary mandate in a recent election—is amiable to stepping in to shore up prices is unclear.
What is clear, however, is that pulling this kind of crap in the post-9/11 era takes a lot of grapes.