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Beaujolais producers on trial

Published:  28 January, 2009

Fifty-two Beaujolais producers have gone on trial in France for allegedly adding illegal amounts of sugar to their wines.

Prosecutors say the winemakers went beyond the legal limits for chaptalisation following the 2004 vintage, which suffered from damp conditions and a lack of sun.

The regulations allow sugar to increase alcohol levels by two percentage points, provided strict procedures are followed and the chaptalisation is properly documented.

The trade body Interbeaujolais argues that the producers went marginally beyond the accepted limits in good faith, believing that the move would be sanctioned by the authorities.

Four supermarket executives and four traders are also accused of bending the rules. All could face a maximum fine of £35,000 and two years in jail if found guilty.

The trial continues.