French organic winemaker granted 2,000-bottle reprieve

Sébastien David, organic winemaker in the Indre-et-Loire, with some of the "offending" bottles

A winemaker in Indre-et-Loire, who had previously been ordered to destroy more than 2,000 bottles of organic wine, has been granted a temporary reprieve pending further investigation on the legality of the demand.

Sébastien David, an organic winemaker, had been ordered to destroy the 2,078 bottles from 2016 following an inquiry by consumer and fraud office la Direction Générale de la Concurrence, de la Consommation et de la Répression des Fraudes (DGCCRF).

The DGCCRF said that the wine acidity levels were too high for public consumption and could not be sold. Yet, after completing his own analysis that appeared to contradict the DGCCRF’s findings, Mr David took the case to court.

This week, the administrative court in Orléans has postponed the order to destroy the wine, but has not cancelled it altogether.

Lawyer for Mr David, Me Eric Morain, said: “The administrative court in Orléans rejected the request to suspend the order to destroy Mr David's wine on the grounds that it was not an urgency. But at the same time, the court ordered that the merits of the case be examined very quickly at a future hearing.”

Me Morain added that the court’s willingness to examine the case meant they were trying to avoid “forcing the destruction” of the wine, and showed they “had no intention of destroying 2,000 bottles”.

The court has said that it will begin its investigation shortly, and is expected to present its findings after May 31, ruling on whether the destroy order will be cancelled or not.

An online petition in support of Mr David has so far collected more than 160,500 signatures, and vouched for Mr David’s ability to create “magnificent wines year after year”.

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