Suspected French wine militants to be tried in court
Several alleged members of the militant French winemaker group CRAV are set to face trial this March in a sign that authorities are attempting to crack down on a wave of protests.
On 1 March, Xavier Fabre, President of the Garde winemaker union in Languedoc, along with five winegrowers from the neighbouring Hérault department, all currently in custody, are due to be tried by the criminal court of Montpellier on several charges including sabotage and criminal damage costing up to three million euros, according to prosecutors.
The case is the result of an investigation carried out by Montpellier’s SRPJ (Service Régional de Police Judiciaire) into 32 acts of violence between April 2016 and August 2017.
A defence lawyer for the accused did not wish to comment on the case when contacted by Decanter.com.
Responsibility for several attacks on wine facilities in Languedoc has been claimed by members purportedly belonging to the region’s long-standing militant winemaker group, CRAV (Comité Régional d’Action Viticole) – also known as CAV (Comité d’Action Viticole).
Wine unions in the area have condemned the violence in the past couple of years, but there has been widespread protest at the import of Spanish wines at low cost.
Some of the more violent attacks in the past two years have included opening a tanker of Spanish wine onto a motorway in France, and smashing open a merchant’s wine vat in the.
It is understood that, in connection with the case, local authorities have also agreed to open a judicial investigation into fraud, over allegations that some Spanish wine has been imported into France illegally.
A separate judicial investigation was ongoing over an arson attack on the offices of the Vinadeis winery in Languedoc on 19 July 2016.