At the end of the nineteenth century some of the less developed countries of Southern Europe often faced major problems when they sought to increase their exports of primary products. Such problems were a consequence of the tariff policies implemented by a number of their trading partners. In this article we analyse the case of the Spanish exports of ordinary table wine during the period 1890 1935. The expansion of wine production outside Europe meant that some countries in the American continent raised their tariffs to protect national production, which caused serious damage to exporters. Much more serious was the discriminatory trade policy initiated by France in 1891 which gave priority to the tariff-free importing of Algerian wine, as against the high tariffs that had to be paid by other exporters. This policy, as well as protecting French production, aimed to support her colonial policy in Algeria and seriously affected Spanish exports, as shown by our data and the econometric analysis we have carried out. The Spanish response resulted in a greater penetration of other European markets, thanks to the competitiveness of Spanish wine, but this did not prevent a serious crisis in the sector.