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Several streets in the southern French port-town of Sete nearly drowned in wine overnight after the contents of five enormous tanks of the liquid were spilled onto the streets by unidentified assailants.
The criminally wasted wine was spilled onto Marechal-Juin avenue, flooding several adjoining streets as well. When the fragrant fluid reached nearby underground cellars and parking lots, locals called the firefighters, reported by the local Midi Libre newspaper.
It took them at least half an hour to pump out all the liquid and clear the streets. The National Police was called in to investigate.
Up to 50,000 liters of the tipple were wasted, reports say. The tanks belonged to the Biron S.A. wholesale wine trading house.
Police initially declined to comment on the incident, yet local press was quick to speculate it was an act of sabotage. They also reported that the tanks’ keeper heard the noise of a door being torn down and saw some 20 men wearing balaclavas in the vicinity.
On Wednesday afternoon, France 3 reported that a shadowy group of French wine producers, Comité d'Action Viticole (Wine Action Committee), claimed responsibility for the goof.
The group is known for having carried out wine-related attacks in France, enraged by the falling prices of French wine and the country’s market being flooded by cheap foreign drinks. In June this year, CRAV accused several French wholesale wine sellers of importing cheap Spanish wines and predatory pricing. In April they hijacked five tankers of Spanish wine on the border and emptied the equivalent of 90,000 bottles of the fluid in protest against what they consider unfair competition.