Organisers of the Vinexpo wine fair have been accused of assault and illegally appropriating wine.
Anna Sério, whose Italissima event is being held throughout the week in the grounds of a hotel by the lake close to the fair told decanter.com that she was injured in a confrontation with Vinexpo marketing director Jean-Francois Ley.
She claims that, of eight pallets of wine and food, six pallets of wine destined for her Italian tasting were ‘hidden’ in the Palais des Congres, a section of Vinexpo close to the Novotel hotel in whose grounds she is holding the tasting.
According to Sério, an attempt to retrieve the wine led to an altercation with Ley.
‘He injured my wrist,’ she said. ‘I went to the police and the doctor.’
‘The Police helped our team to recover the pallets,’ she added. ‘They told Vinexpo, “if you don’t give the pallets back, we will be witnesses to theft,” and in 10 minutes they produced the wine.’
She says she has filed an official complaint for attempted robbery and violent behaviour with the police.
Vinexpo organizer Robert Beynat could not be reached for comment at the time of publication but said, in an earlier interview with regional newspaper Sud-Ouest, that he had sent bailiffs to Sério’s tasting.
‘Have you seen the marquee?’ he said. ‘It’s not a simple tent, it’s a monster visible from a great distance and so close to us that it could have been confusing. It’s obvious they want to take advantage of Vinexpo without paying.’
Sério, who said she has organized events with Vinexpo for 12 years, says she was originally turned away by Vinexpo organizers when she approached them to hold her tasting last year.
According to her, Vinexpo organizer Robert Beynat and president Xavier de Eizaguirre have refused to enter into discussions with her.
French wine connoisseur Thierry Desseauve and renowned expert Michel Bettane, are among those hosting tastings at the Italissima event.
Written by Oliver Styles, in Bordeaux