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Winemakers must pay dues to CIVB, court rules

Bordeaux vignerons have lost their fight with the Bordeaux Wine Bureau (CIVB) over fees, which they claimed were being wasted.

CIVB funds ‘defend our appellations against fraud…’

The Comité d’Action des Vignerons de Bordeaux (CAVB) will not have its fees to the CIVB reimbursed, a court has ruled.

The group of ten winemakers had sued for the repayment of five years of the compulsory fees that all wine producers in the region pay to the CIVB. They claimed the money was being wasted on ineffectual campaigns with no transparency.

Roland Feredj, director general of the CIVB, told Decanter.com that the victory would not just be symbolic, and they would expect to recover the fees.

‘This is a question of treating all professionals in Bordeaux equally. The CIVB uses those fees to pay for advertising for the region, to defend our appellations against fraud and forgeries, to conduct market studies and to finance research. Those who don’t pay still benefit from that, and we are obliged to ensure we recover the money.’

The spokesperson for CAVB, Dominique Techer of Chateau Clos Réné in Pomerol, told a local newspaper after the hearing he was surprised the court had not referred the question to the European courts, which are currently considering other challenges to do with the legal status of fees paid to agricultural trade bodies like the CIVB.

The CAVB has said it intends to challenge this latest decision. Producers must now however pay their 2010 fees, which they had withheld, with interest.

Written by Jane Anson in Bordeaux

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