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Les Bannis de Pomerol loses latest court battle over vinification boundary

The appeal court of Bordeaux has ruled against a group of Pomerol winemakers, known as Les Bannis de Pomerol, who are contesting a syndicate ruling that all AOC Pomerol winemakers must vinify within the appellation from the 2018 vintage.

The nine chateaux – Domaine de La Pointe, Vieux Taillefer, Haut-Tropchaud, Lafleur-Grangenveuve, La Truffe, Les Graves de Canterou, Clos de la Vieille Eglise, Vray Croix de Gay and Grand Moulinet – have been fighting for three years for the right to continue bottling their wines in cellars located outside of the Pomerol appellation.

To do so they have brought two separate suits, one against the Pomerol syndicate, and one appealing directly to the Conseil d’Etat, the highest administrative court in France.

The Bordeaux appeal court this week ruled that the Pomerol Syndicate had acted legally and fairly in their original ruling, and that the Bannis de Pomerol should comply, or no longer use the Pomerol appellation on their label once the deadline has passed.

The lawyer acting on behalf of the syndicate, Jean-Philippe Magret, managed to prove in the tribunal that in each case, there were solutions available. Ets JP Moueix, for example, has offered the old ageing cellars of Chateau Guillot to Baronne Guichard, owner of Vray Croix de Gay.

‘The ruling validates the idea of mise-en-bouteille au chateau,’ president of the Syndicate, Jean-Marie Garde told Decanter.com. ‘And it is reassuring to know that we have been acting legally and within our rights. But it’s not over yet.’

The Conseil d’Etat had already ruled, in March 2012, in favour of Les Bannis, and the appeal process on that decision is not expected for another few months.

‘There are existing cellars in Pomerol that can be used,’ says Garde, ‘and not one single plot of vines would have to be pulled up. All we want is to uphold the image of Pomerol wines.’

Written by Jane Anson

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