I know rioting isn’t fun or funny. People are injured, businesses are ruined, and tensions run high long after the last of the tear gas has dissipated. It’s no laughing matter – especially when it happens where you live.
I also know that the wine culture – from those who grow the grapes on verdant hills to those who sip and sup throughout the world – is a civilized one. A healthy respect for centuries-old traditions combined with a true love of living makes for generally peaceful people.
But, these are not peaceful times. Rising gas prices and a decrease in wine consumption (don’t look at me; I’m doing my part) forced local wine growers to take to the streets of our fair Montpellier recently – and things didn’t turn out so well:
Some 200 growers wearing ski masks and wielding baseball bats vandalised four Crédit Agricole banks and three supermarkets, smashing bottles of wine in the liquor aisles. Some of the rioters allegedly overturned and tried to burn a car with six gendarmes still sitting inside, an act that Minister of Internal Security Michèle Alliot-Marie called “attempted murder.” But nobody has been arrested or charged in the spate of violence yet. The Comité Régional d’Action Viticole (CRAV), a radical group of winegrowers responsible for previous acts of vandalism in Languedoc, has not claimed responsibility for the incidents.
See? That’s actually not funny.
But, only in France could there be a “radical group of winegrowers” responsible for millions of euros in vandalizing damage. And, only in France could the police be scared of a radical group of winegrowers – due to their long reign of terror.
It’s really… not… funny.