Le Comité Régional d’Action Viticole (Regional Committee for Viticultural Action), commonly known as CRAV, is a group of radical French wine producers from the Languedoc region. What makes them so radical? Well, they’re out to eliminate the competition. CRAV has been known to attack producers and sellers of non-French wines. They have claimed responsibility for blowing up grocery stores, a winery, two separate agriculture ministry offices, burning a car, and hijacking a tanker. CRAV has been active since the 1970s and is recognized as a terrorist group.
On Monday Le Parisien reported that CRAV had set fire to two telephone exchange points leaving thousands of Haute-Garonne residents without telephone or internet connections last weekend, but there is not enough information as to why.
On March 13, 2009 The Telegraph reported CRAV’s third strike in three weeks. At a wine cooperative in Nimes, France, before dawn, the radicals pulled the plugs from eight vats, equalling more than one million bottles of red, white and rosé, and let it all run down the drain.
CRAV has called for stronger taxes on imported wines from Spain and Italy. The organization feels that the foreign wine prices are unreasonably low, compromising the market for local French producers.
Sure, advocating for higher tariffs is one thing, but there’s no need to get violent here. In 1907, thousands marched into the streets of Montpellier to defend the local vineyards, but the French Army opened fire on the crowd, killing 6. CRAV often references this event when they justify their actions.
“Their action gives a catastrophic image of our profession.”
– Jean Foch, Director of vignerons des Garrigues, wine cooperative
Listen, I’m all about those local businesses. In fact, I find buying local to be gratifying to both the mind and the mouth. But let’s get real here: sometimes I’m going to compromise my standards and trade in that $20 bottle of Lamoreaux Landing Red Oak Vineyard Riesling for a bottle of Barefoot. It happens.