Subscriber login Close [x]
remember me
You are not logged in.


Published:  23 July, 2008

By Tim Atkin

Some of Bordeaux's largest ngociant firms, including Ginestet, GVG and CVBG, are embroiled in a blending and mislabelling scandal following the recent trial of Jacques Hemmer, a Mdoc-based ngociant. In Bordeaux last week, Hemmer was charged with selling an estimated 4,000 hectolitres of fraudulently labelled crus bourgeois and petits chteaux between 1994 and 1997, and of blending Bordeaux reds with wines from the Midi. Having admitted his guilt, he is expected to be given an 18 month prison sentence and a e38,000 fine when judgement is passed on 8 April. Six Bordeaux ngociants (Ginestet, GVG, Cordier, CVBG, Dulong and Mestrezat & Domaines) have also been charged with selling fraudulent wines sourced from Hemmer. The prosecutor has called for fines to be levied against all six companies, who have pleaded not guilty. All of the wine was bought through the courtier, Franois Lillet, but Lillet has not been charged. 'We are the victims of fraud,' Jean-Marie Chadronnier of CVBG told Harpers. 'We are not responsible for what happened.' In a joint letter sent to their customers on 22 February, the companies claimed that Hemmer 'sold different parcels of wine to our companies& while misleading us on their quality and AOC origin. The position is clear: we have been cheated and abused.' At the CIVB, where the transactions between Lillet and the ngociants were officially recorded, managing director Roland Feredj told Harpers that the fraud should be seen in context. 'Bordeaux sells one billion bottles a year, so the quantities concerned represent around 0.05% of our annual production and 0.1% of the turnover of the companies concerned. It's hardly a major scandal.'