The wine regions under threat from development

Three of the world’s most important and beautiful wine regions are being blighted by major building projects despite objections from the trade. We look at the damage being done.

Foz Tua Dam

The Foz Tua dam sees 108 metres of concrete cut across one of the Douro’s most beautiful valleys

Famous appellations Sauternes, the Mosel and the Douro are all currently suffering from threats to their appearance and ecology due to schemes that should never have received the go-ahead, according to leading figures in the trade.

Of particular frustration is the fact that the damage caused by these construction projects won’t bring any major benefits.

Such schemes also appear to be a giant step back at a time when increased value is being placed on viticultural areas of historical and aesthetic significance, helped by organisations such as UNESCO, or regional bodies, who are keen to protect their heritage and promote wine tourism.

Of course there are already examples where great vineyards are found just feet from main roads or architectural monstrosities. Indeed, those who have visited Château La Mission Haut-Brion will know that its vineyards abut not just the suburbs of Bordeaux, but an abandoned, graffiti-covered concrete structure (pictured below).

While those who tour Burgundy for the first time are always surprised at the amount of traffic that speeds along the N74, a road that cuts through pretty tracts of the Cote d’Or, and situated just metres away from the most valuable agricultural land in the world.

Sadly, it seems as though more brutal acts of road building and other forms of construction are soon to further damage wine regions of great value for their wines and aesthetics.

Over the following pages we bring you three tragic examples of landscape destruction which are either already underway, or impending.

Mission Haut-Brion

Mission Haut-Brion: world famous source of claret on the left; abandoned concrete structure on the right

One Response to “The wine regions under threat from development”

  1. The same threat of industrialization looms over the Finger lakes Wine region in New York. A Texas-based gas company wants to turn the heart of the region into the largest fracked gas storage and transport hub in the North Eastern United States, using abandoned, unlined and unstable salt caverns to store millions of gallons of propane, butane, and methane a few hundred feet away from Seneca lake, a 4.2 Trillion gallon fresh drinking water source for 100,000 people and home to world-class wines. Seneca Lake is the jewel in the crown of the Finger Lakes, drawing international attention from Louis Barroul from Chateau de Saint Cosme, and Johanne Selbach of the Mosel Valley in Germany. Both are growing grapes and starting ventures in the region, and are vehemently opposed to this industrialization which will include active burning flare stacks, huge open brine pits, a truck and rail depot, compressor stations– all in the bucolic, burgeoning wine region. We would love for this story to get some attention. For more information, please contact us at:

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