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Pomerol producers take protest to court

Nine Pomerol producers are fighting new regulations that require all chateaux to vinify in the appellation to retain the Pomerol AC.

The decree has now been published in the ‘Journal Officiel’ government bulletin.

Pomerol producers are currently allowed to vinify outside the appellation, in Lalande de Pomerol, Montagne-St-Emilion or Artigues de Lussac, and still call their wine AC Pomerol.

Twenty-three producers have no vinification facilities within Pomerol, and will have until 2018 to build a winery within the AC borders.

They claim they will either have to sell up altogether, or they will have to grub up vines to make room for vinification facilities.

Most Pomerol vineyards are small – the region is described as the ‘Burgundy of Bordeaux’. Owners transport the grapes to vinify them, often for a distance of one or two kilometres.

Nine of them – Grand Moulinet, Haut-Tropchaud, Lafleur Grangeneuve, La Truffe, Les Graves de Canterau, Vray Croix de Gay, Clos de la Vieille Eglise, Domaine de la Pointe and Domaine Vieux Taillefer – have joined together to protest the development, and will argue their case on 14 December at the Administrative Court in Paris.

Paul Goldschmidt owns the 3.67ha Vray Croix de Gay. He vinifies at his property Chateau Siaurac in Lalande-de-Pomerol, less than two kilometres away.

He told decanter.com, ‘For us it means a huge investment of €750,000 for no improvement of any kind.’

‘And we will have to grub up 0.3ha – €200,000 worth – of vines, while we have just invested in a water treatment plant at Siaurac.’

Pomerol’s most famous resident, Christian Moueix of Chateau Petrus, vinifies on the property so will not be affected by the new regulations.

He would not comment except to say, ‘All of this could be “much ado about nothing” since so many things can happen in nine years, n’est-ce pas?’

Jean-Michel Laporte at La Conseillante, which vinifies on the property, said, ‘I’m neutral. But I will say that it’s a shame to bring any bad feeling on the appellation. This new system has been talked about since 1998, so this seems rather late to begin protesting.’

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Written by Jane Anson in Bordeaux

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