A Bordeaux château owner has been fined €7.8 million, after he was found guilty of selling cheap wine as more expensive Bordeaux to a number of major supermarkets.

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Record fine for selling fake Bordeaux to supermarkets

François-Marie Marret, owner of four estates in the region, was this week given a two year prison sentence and the record fine by the Tribunal Correctionnel de Bordeaux.

A négociant, Vincent Lataste, was also found guilty of assisting in the crime and given an 18 months suspended sentence and a fine of €5,000, along with a fine of €30,000 to his company, of which half was suspended.

The case dates back to 2012, when customs officials found over 800,000 litres of suspected doctored wines in cellars owned by Marret that blended entry-level appellations with the prestigious wines from Saint-Émilion, Pomerol and Listrac-Médoc.

The case has been locally dubbed ‘moon wines’ because the lesser wines were sent over to Marret’s cellars under the cover of night.

Marret’s holdings include Châteaux des Tours in Montagne Saint-Émilion, Le Couvent in Saint-Émilion, Moulin à Vent in Pomerol and Fourcas Loubaney in Listrac-Médoc.

Others involved in the case included two brokers who received a one year and eight month suspended sentence respectively and a truck driver who got a four month suspended sentence.

Three winegrowers Bruno Ballet, Marie-Chantal Boucher and Sebastien Ninaud allegedly provided the entry level wine for the blending and each received six-month suspended sentences and fines of up to €12,500.

The fraudulent wines were sold for almost €800,000 in 2011 and 2012 to clients including Auchan and Intermarché supermarkets.

Marret said he would appeal against the ‘stunning severity’ of the verdict.

 


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