The prosecutor in the Beaujolais sugar case has called for fines of up to €5000.
The case – which is adjourned till 17 March – involves 53 Beaujolais wine producers accused of illegally adding sugar to their wines.
Four supermarkets are accused of supplying 600 tonnes of sugar illegally.
Illegal chaptalisation can carry a prison sentence: in the case of buying and selling sugar the sentence is up to two years.
The state prosecutor in this case has called for fines of between €500 and €7000, depending on the amount of sugar used.
In Beaujolais an increase of 2% alcohol is allowed above the wines’ natural alcohol level.
It is understood the producers are defending their decision on the basis that they assumed that chaptalisation would be allowed owing to the adverse weather conditions in 2004.
According to AFP, the French national consumer organisation CLCV is demanding a fine of €80,000 for offences which ‘deliberately fly in the face of regulations designed to protect the consumer.’
Written by Sophie Kevany in Bordeaux