A biodynamic winemaker in Burgundy who refused to spray his vines with pesticide to protect against a deadly vine disease has seen his conviction overturned on appeal.

Emmanuel Giboulot (pictured) described his success against the French state at a court in Dijon today (4 December) as a ‘victory for citizen power’.

The court overturned the original judgment, given in April 2014, that found Giboulot guilty of refusing to treat his vines against the disease flavesence doree. He had been fined €1,000, albeit with €500 of it suspended.

Giboulot’s case sparked a debate about biodynamic and organic farming within the French wine industry and in the media. There is no known cure for flavescence doree and several scientists have warned that chemical sprays are the best form of defence, until new methods are found.

Hundreds of thousands of people signed online petitions on Facebook and through various environmental groups in support of Giboulot.

 

The judge in Dijon said he overturned the conviction because the original prefectural order in spring 2013 to treat all vines in the Beaune area had not first been approved by the minister of agriculture, and therefore could not be susceptible to criminal proceedings for non-compliance.

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Written by Jane Anson