This is why France’s streets look like rivers of red wine right now

Today in really interesting international news: The streets of France are being flooded with wine because of issues with the French wine trade. It seems European rules now allow the free movement of wine and other goods, even if they don’t meet production or quality standards in the importing country, and European Union labeling standards also make it easier for retailers to pass foreign products off as French. That means that local vignerons (aka winemakers) are now facing unfair competition, especially from Spain, where wine prices are much cheaper.

In other words, France’s largest wine brokers are attempting to cut their costs by importing cheaper, lower quality wine, and that’s hurting local vineyards.

This practice obviously makes sense for the big businesses, but the local community of winegrowers has had enough. Back in March, a group of vino vigilantes broke into one of the country’s largest wine brokerages and ignited three Molotov cocktails. Within minutes, the business, called Passerieux Vergnes Diffusion, was in flames.

The wine rebels have continued to execute dozens of attacks in protest since last summer, including ambushing Spanish wine trucks at the border and dumping the payload on highways (hence the rivers of wine in the street).

We won’t pretend like all this wasted wine isn’t breaking our hearts, but we do understand the sacrifice is for a much greater cause.

“Many people are just scraping by, but no one is listening,” said Lionel Puech, a co-president of the Young Farmers Association, a union that has admitted to joining some of the militant actions, none of which have yet resulted in prosecutions.

Last month, the government of France held a meeting of French and Spanish wine representatives and ministers, with the intention of solving the issues being faced by both countries. They condemned the violence and agreed to strengthen relations.

Hopefully things will fall into place and we can stop wasting wine ASAP.