Lapostolle bee case still buzzing

  • Friday 27 February 2004

The dispute between Casa Lapostolle and Casablanca´s beekeepers in Chile is set to continue.

The issue arose in April last year, when Fenopril - a pesticide - was mixed with honey instead of fish or beef. The honey attracted bees from the neighboring area and, as a consequence, over 70 million bees died, 800 beehives had to be incinerated and six tons of honey was poisoned.

Jorge Ramírez, one of the beekeepers, lost all of the bees in his 260 beehives.

‘I feel depressed and disappointed. I lost US$162,700 and all of my coming production,’ he said.

Beekeepers sued Casa Lapostolle but they have yet to come to an agreement. They claim compensation of approximately US$1.2m to cover the losses caused by the death of the bees, the beehives set on fire and the seasons in which there was no production of honey.

The two parties arranged a meeting for this week, but it was postponed.

‘Our attorney informed us that the winery had decided to put off the meeting due to the information that a sector of the Chilean press had given against their firm,’ said Ricardo Barhone, a spokesman for the beekeepers.

Casa Lapostolle’s vice-president, Cyril de Bournet pointed out that this affair is in the hands of the insurance company and denied the winery are refusing to talk to bee-keepers.

‘We cannot be held responsible for the delays due to insurance companies. This is summer time in South America, and it slows down everything. Things are complicated by the fact that our insurance company is in France and works in Chile through a local correspondent,' said Bournet.

Lapostolle owns 300 hectares in three different vineyards and produces a total of 150,000 cases distributed in more than 26 countries worldwide.

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