Georges Duboeuf, the father of Beaujolais Nouveau, faces a £130,000 fine for allegedly tampering with 300,000 bottles of wine.
Duboeuf appeared in court on Tuesday to deny accusations of ‘fraud and attempted fraud concerning the origin and quality of wines’.
As reported on decanter.com last August, Duboeuf is being investigated by French authorities for incorrectly labelling and blending 225,000 litres of wine. According to the prosecution, this was done to make up for an inconsistent harvest in 2004.
Duboeuf claims that human error led to a mix-up during the grape sorting and that none of the wine affected ever went on sale.
‘The mistake was made, it was admitted by the person responsible who has since resigned, and it does not affect the consumer,’ Duboeuf told AFP (Agence France Presse) last year.
Under France’s appellation controlée system blending is forbidden in order to ensure the exact geographical origin of each bottle of wine.
Also on trial is Sylvain Dory, one of Duboeuf’s former production managers.
If found guilty, Dory could receive a fine of £26,000 and face up to two years in prison while George Duboeuf Wines, which produces more than 30m bottles of wine annually, could be fined up to £130,000 (€187,000).
The case continues.
Written by Claire Burbidge