Next to fermenting wine, drama was brewing in the Aude area of Languedoc-Roussillon. The winemakers had threatened to disrupt this year’s Tour de France when it would pass through their region. The organizing body of the world’s most famous cycling competition had signed up a Chilean wine brand as an event sponsor and this didn’t sit well with the local producers.
The winemakers’ union president, Frédéric Rouanet told Decanter the following: “We intend to block the Tour de France at strategic steps if a French wine is not chosen to represent this cycling event, the emblem of France.”
One caveat, however, is that France’s Évin Law prohibits alcohol from being promoted during athletic events. The deal with the Chilean winemaker is only valid for the Tour de France’s foreign segments in Spain and Switzerland.
Subsequently, French winemakers wouldn’t be allowed to sponsor the Tour de France within France either.
Nonetheless they got what they wanted. Amaury Sport Organization, which organizes the Tour, agreed on a promotional partnership with the union. The French winemakers were offered the chance to create a flag for French wine as well as separate flags for regional products.
Although the winemakers’ union’s tactics were effective; it’s worth noting that according to the general director of the Tour, Christian Prudhomme, no French wine brand had applied to be a sponsor before a deal was signed with Chile’s Cono Sur in 2015.
I think we can conclude that the organizers of the Tour are being very good sports in this case.