Top Beaujolais producer Georges Duboeuf is being investigated by French authorities for incorrectly labelling and blending 225,000 litres of wine, it emerged yesterday.

A preliminary investigation was opened after France’s fraud office found that Duboeuf’s vinification plant in Lancié, in the departement of the Rhône, was mixing wines without respecting strict appellation rules. The rules govern blending and marketing wines from specific areas.

Reports indicate that 690 hectolitres (hl) of wines from specific vineyards and over 12,000hl of generic Beaujolais Villages were being blended and labelled incorrectly. In total, this affects around 300,000 bottles of Duboeuf wine, around 5% of Duboeuf’s total production.

‘Everything was being mixed – Beaujolais with Beaujolais Villages, cru wines with Beaujolais Villages and so on,’ said the public prosecutor at the start of proceedings.

According to the report issued by the fraud office, the head of the Lancié plant was responsible for the errant blending.

‘Not one of the wines was put on sale and as soon as we learned of the error, we halted the process on site,’ said Georges Duboeuf, the 72 year-old founder of the largest Beaujolais négociant.

Duboeuf also added that the person responsible for the blending acted alone and that he had left the company; and that consumers would be unaffected.

‘The error, which was acknowledged by the perpetrator who has since resigned, does not affect the consumer,’ he said.

Written by Oliver Styles, and agencies