I would not like to be a winegrower in Provence – risk of losing my life due to angry neighbours! At 3 in the morning on July 17, 2020, winemaker Fabrice Brun was out on his vineyards near the village of Gonfaron and carried out the season’s last spray against the leaf mould mildiou. The only non-systemic remedy available for mildiou is copper-based and because it is non-systemic, i.e. does not penetrate the vine, it is also approved for organic farming.
When he filled up the tank, he heard some unusual sounds that he did not recognize and when he then continued the spraying in the vineyard, the sounds were repeated. He then discovered that the tank was leaking and that there were bullet holes in the tank from “Long Riffle 22” ammunition!!
The police quickly made an investigation and it turned out that it was Fabrice’s closest neighbour who fired the shots, they have known each other for 30 years! The perpetrator cannot explain his act other than that he was heavily intoxicated.
This was at the same time the drop that caused the cup to overflow and 25 unions acted and they wrote letters to President Emmanuel Macron that there must be “zero tolerance for this type of behaviour” as it has unfortunately become common in Provence and France to expose winegrowers and farmers for verbal and physical attacks.
Fabrice’s neighbour was sentenced one week before Christmas in court in Draguignan to one year in prison, a ban on carrying weapons for ten years and to pay Fabrice 2000 €. A little consolation for Fabrice who is still affected by the incident and has difficulty sleeping.
Sources: La Revue du Vin de France and vitisphere.com