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Fraud hits Burgundy

Published:  23 July, 2008


BURGUNDY is embroiled in a potentially damaging wine scandal as a result of an on-going investigation into the interconnected affairs of four local ngociants and the managing director of the region's major mobile bottling company, La Socit bourguignonne d'embouteillage (SBE). The companies concerned, described by Clive Coates MW as "fourth or fifth division" ngociants, are Philibert (SEDIVIP), Raveau (Manoir de la Bressandire), Goichot and Lglise et Fils. "Even their genuine wines are total crap," Coates added. The scandal came to light on 6 December 2000, when the Dijon police and the French Fraud Squad visited the premises of SBE. There it was discovered that, in his role as a bottler and courtier for SEDIVIP, Didier Voland of SBE had been blending Grand Cru Burgundy wines with lesser Syrah and Alicante from southern France and Spain in order to increase their colour and alcohol level. After consulting the company's files, the investigators learnt that SEDIVIP had in turn sold a consignment of Meursault blended with 30% Vin de Pays d'Oc white, apparently in payment of a bad debt, to Raveau. The latter was found to have "resuscitated" old wines destined for distillation with younger vins de table. From there, the investigators proceeded to the premises of a third Burgundy ngociant, Goichot, which bottled the wine on Raveau's behalf. Goichot has itself been charged with selling generic Burgundy of unspecified vintage as 1990 Vosne-Romane to a fourth ngociant, Lglise et Fils. The case continues.