French winemakers angry over Tour de France sponsor

French winemakers have threatened to disrupt the Tour de France over the cycling event’s decision to award a Chilean wine brand an exclusive sponsorship deal.

tdf_currentlogoProducers in the Languedoc have expressed anger at the choice of Cono Sur’s ‘Bicicleta’ brand being a sponsor of the “emblematic” French cycling event, and have warned they will interrupt the race when it passes through the region.

Stage 11 of this year’s tour will pass between Carcassonne and Montpellier, a large part of which passes right through the heart of the Aude department.

The Chilean label, owned by Concha y Toro, in fact began its partnership with the race in 2014 when it sponsored the ‘Grand Départ’ part of the race held in Yorkshire and then renewed its partnership through to 2017 last year.

However, the Aude’s winemaking union, the Syndicat des Vignerons de l’Aude, claimed it had only just learned of the deal.

The union’s president, Frédéric Rouanet, told The Telegraph: “We feel humiliated. We make prestigious wines and the Tour is part of our cultural and sporting heritage, and therefore our wines should be associated with it.”

He hinted that if the race goes ahead without a change to the wine sponsor then the union will attempt to “block” the race as it passes through the Aude this July and he called on other unions to do likewise.

Due to France’s Evin Law any wine sponsor, whether French or foreign, is not allowed to openly market its products in association with an event such as the Tour.

As such, Cono Sur’s partnership has solely been with the Tour on its foreign stages: the UK in 2014, the Low Countries in 2015 and Spain and Switzerland this year. At no point will Cono Sur be advertised in relation to the Tour when in France.

Presumably aware of this, other syndicats and interprofessions have been less vocal in any disapproval they may habour but the Languedoc is home to some of France’s most militant winemakers – most famously the quasi-terrorist group ‘Comité Regional d’Action Viticole‘ or CRAV.

Active since the 1970s, the group occasionally makes the news with sporadic attacks such as the 2013 bombing of the Socialist party’s headquarters in Carcassonne.

2 Responses to “French winemakers angry over Tour de France sponsor”

  1. Pamela says:

    What is embarrassing to French wine producers, whether located in Languedoc or not, whether home of CRAV or not is to know that foreign countries and the million of consumers who watch the tour will see a Chilean winery associated with a typically French event, organized by the French.
    It would look like the French themselves do not care about promoting their heritage and products, but will accept whatever biggest offer out there to make money on the organization of the Tour de France.
    It is simply pathetic.
    This would never happen in Italy, or in the USA. a sense of national pride would prevent it.

  2. Jacques says:

    Is there a society quite as emotionally undeveloped and insecure as that of the French?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to our newsletters

Wine Trader

Vintage Capital II PLC
London, UK

International Marketing Assistant

Paris, France

Senior Partner Manager - Managed On-Trade

Maverick Drinks
United Kingdom

Customer Service Manager

Jascots Wine Merchants
London, UK

Transport Manager

Jascots Wine Merchants
London, UK

Head of Customer Services

Berkmann Wine Cellars
London, UK

International Logistics Manager

Wine Source
London, UK

PR Manager

Master of Malt
Tonbridge, UK

General Manager: Pilango Cider Vault

Pilango Cider
Fulham, London

Office Manager

The Drinks Business Hong Kong
Hong Kong

International Bulk Wine & Spirits Show (IBWSS)

25th Jul 2018

Cape Wine 2018

Cape Town,South Africa
12th Sep 2018

The Wine & Spirits Show

London,United Kingdom
12th Oct 2018
Click to view more

The Global Malbec Masters 2018

Deadline : 1st August 2018

Champagne Masters 2018

Deadline : 1st August 2018

Click to view more

The Global Malbec Masters 2017

the drinks business is proud to announce the inaugural Global Malbec Masters 2017

The Global Sparkling Masters 2017

the drinks business is thrilled to announce the launch of The Global Sparkling Masters.

Click to view more