Worldwide, the Tour de France is probably the most recognized French sporting event of the year. But though the race brings together cyclers from all over the globe, French winemakers want foreign wine advertisements to be strictly forbidden.
The controversy arose recently when French producers in the southwestern Languedoc-Roussillon region discovered that a Chilean wine company, Cono Sur, was a sponsor of the famed bicycle competition. Oddly, the sponsorship has actually been around since 2014 without eliciting concerns, in part because France as a country bans all alcohol brands from advertising at sporting events, meaning Cono Sur’s sponsorship is only included during the few stages of the race that slip outside of France’s borders.
However, simply knowing a wine brand from another country is attached to the race that bearing the French name has elicited outrage. “It is unacceptable to allow the Tour de France organizers to promote a wine from Chile,” the Young Farmers group said on its website according to the Telegraph. “They should be supporting only French produce.” Frederic Rouanet, president of the Aude department winemakers’ union, agreed in even more dramatic terms. “We feel humiliated,” he was quoted as saying. Members of the French parliament have even penned angry letters to the country’s agricultural minister.
The upset winemakers say that if the Chilean wine partnership isn’t terminated, they will block the stage of the race that runs from Carcassonne to Montpellier. Sounds like everyone needs to just drink a glass of California wine and chill out.