Nothing is more French than the Tour de France, right? Well, that’s exactly why French winemakers are completely infuriated. Not their beloved Burgundy or world famous Sancerre, but the little known Chilean wine brand Cono Sur Bicicleta is the official Tour wine.
The first protest campaigns have already been announced. It comes as no surprise in a country of ‘own products first’ where the seemingly futile fact that president Hollande wears Danish glasses is already stirring up heated public debates. And to be honest, it’s not the easiest time for French wine producers. The already tough competition is heating up as Chinese are massively buying French vineyards and vinological knowledge. Merde!
The farmers are angry, but at the same time they haven’t really been paying attention. Just check out the small print on the bottles: last year’s Tour wine was also made in Chile. Because it’s forbidden to promote wine during French sporting events, the wine growers had simply missed the diabolic sponsor pact.
According to news correspondent Ron Linker, French vintners are really loosing it now. ‘They are looking for strategic points on the route of the cycling event to make their point. They are threatening to block them unless, as always in France, the direction of the Tour will accommodate.’ The ‘risk areas’ are mostly located in the Languedoc-Roussillon; the largest wine region in the world.
To make things worse the management of the Tour de France is committed to the Chileans until 2017. Rock solid. The contract cannot be altered. Tour director Christian Prudhomme recently offered an olive branch. In a large pavilion that will travel with the Tour caravan, the farmers are now allowed to promote their own regional wines. Although you never know with those French farmers, this Chilean-French wine war seems to be a storm in a wineglass.