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  • Jancis Robinson
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  • Jancis Robinson
18 Jul 2013

Thanks to this morning's Midi Libre, I see that the night before last a home-made bomb was thrown at the Socialist party headquarters in our local town Carcassonne, destroying the ground-floor offices and damaging the school opposite. The perpetrators were keen to make their identity known. They scrawled CAV all over the walls and added the name of François Hollande's agriculture minister Stéphane Le Foll.

CAV stands for Comité d'Action Viticole, a group of militant Languedoc vignerons whose chief gripe seems to be that they are no longer paid huge subsidies to produce cheap wine nobody wants to drink. They used to call themselves Comité Régionale d'Action Viticole* but seem to have lost an R, or perhaps they are simply illiterate. On second thoughts, that is highly unlikely. Their Wikipedia entry has already been updated with this most recent exploit. It seems anyway that my 2010 New Year wish expressed here has not come to pass.

The local politicians are furious. They say they spend most of their time lobbying on behalf of local vine growers, and that anyway it is not them but the EU authorities in Brussels who steer agricultural policy in France.

This is the most recent act of violence by these disgruntled and misguided (ex?)vignerons, the last one having been three years ago in Narbonne when they smashed the windows of MSA Grand Sud, another organisation perceived as inimical to CAV. The previous year they destroyed 270,000 litres of wine at a Languedoc négociant they suspected of importing wine that undercut the local produce.

Perhaps Treasury Wine Estates might think of recruiting a CAV commando to help them destroy the $35m worth of surplus effete wine in the US we reported on yesterday?

* There is an excellent article about CRAV and its unlikely origins involving Gaddafi by Mark Andrew of Roberson Wine in the current, second issue of the lively new wine magazine Noble Rot.