On an average, 75 million hectolitres of wine are produced in France per annum. However, only 55 million hectolitres can be sold on the market. The surplus – mainly cheap wine from the south of France – is distilled into industrial alcohol, using subsidies from the state and the European Community. The wine growers do not think this is a satisfactory solution. The compensations barely cover their production costs. The European Wine Regulation Act of 1970 permitted the free flow of wine within the EC. The very existence of wine growers in the south of France was threatened. Many were forced to abandon their vineyards and migrate to the cities in search of work.
Ever since early 1970s the French wine growers have been regularly protesting against this discrimination. The current wine crisis clearly shows that the same mechanisms of underdevelopment used in the Third World are also at work in certain agricultural regions in Europe. Regional movements for political autonomy gain momentum when local economic development is sacrificed to national and European interests.
a film by Gordian Troeller and Marie-Claude Deffarge
in cooperation with François Partant
original title: Europas Weinfässer laufen über
camera: Gordian Troeller
sound: Jean Noel Pruvost
editor: Marguerite Oboussier
This film only exists in the German version.