SIX Burgundy wine bosses have been questioned over suspicion of fraud involving the mixing and labelling of wines.
Leaders of one of the main Burgundy wine merchants, Labouré-Roi, were questioned in police custody after investigators found possible evidence of banned practices – a scandal which the Dijon public prosecutor, Eric Lallement, said “has upset the profession and has changed the image of the wine”.
Mr Lallement said the practices are thought to have been on a scale suggestive of an “organised” and “regular” “system”.
It is alleged that in around half a million bottles, the firm mixed together wines of different origins (to an extent above the small amount permitted), even adding in table wine to ones labelled as apellation contrôlée.
It is also alleged that there was fraud over date labelling relating to more than a million bottles – if the stock of a certain year ran out, then wine from a later year would be relabelled as being from the earlier one.
The enquiry, by the gendarmerie and anti-fraud officers, relates to a period from 2006-2008.
Bosses have admitted there may have been “errors”, but claimed there was no intention of fraud.
Burgundy wines professional association BIVB has stated that such practices cannot be allowed and if the facts are proved it will make a claim for compensation from Labouré-Roi.