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Bordeaux vignerons join farmers demonstrations over ‘desperate’ situation

Winegrowers from Bordeaux have joined the widespread demonstrations by farmers across France, blocking roads and disrupting traffic on the city’s busy motorway, to protest at rising costs and demanding paperwork.  

French farmers continue to demonstrate

The demos, which include dumping manure and lighting a bonfire in front of the headquarters for the regional government, the préfecture de la Gironde, were sparked by the French government’s plans to get rid of a tax break on agricultural diesel fuel, with farmers saying that they cannot afford to pay taxes on tractor fuel.

They also argue that the cost of electricity and various government fees are too big a burden, and complain about being “swamped” in regulations and paperwork.

Jean-Samuel Eynard, president of the FNSEA in Gironde and a winegrower in Côtes de Bourg told Wine Spectator that “people are desperate. It has never been this bad.”

The president of the Young Farmers of Gironde, Vincent Bougès, who is a winegrower in St.-Sauveur de Médoc, added that certain costs were “no longer sustainable” and that winegrowers want their products “to be valued [and] to sell at the right price.”

In addition to the growing costs, winegrowers are calling for a minimum price for bulk wine to be set by Bordeaux wine trade, and that the fees paid by smaller growers to the Bordeaux Wine Council should be lowered.

As well as blocking and filtering traffic on roundabouts and main road, bonfires have also been lit outside the gates of bottling facilities in the Sough of France, including Castel’s plant in Capiscol and the Grands Chais de France bottling facility in Baume, according to local reports.

Further plans to block the motorway near Sauternes and Graves next week have also been reported.

To make their demands heard, the farmers also plan to block the motorway near Sauternes and Graves next week.


The news comes as farmers have assembled today outside the European Parliament building in Brussels with around 1,000 tractors blocking routes into the city.

Banners reading “no farmers, no food” and “if you love the Earth, support those who manage it” have been unfurled. Some protesters have thrown eggs at the Parliament building and tractors have also parked up in a central square.

One concession that has already occurred is the EU announcing a delay to fresh rules to set-aside land for biodiversity and soil health yesterday (31 January).

Vice-president of the European Commission Maroš Šefčovič said the decision to delay the rules should be signed off by member states within a fortnight and was a “helping hand” for the agricultural industry.

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