Awards and citations:

1997: Le Prix du Champagne Lanson Noble Cuvée Award for investigations into Champagne for the Millennium investment scams

2001: Le Prix Champagne Lanson Ivory Award for

2011: Vindic d'Or MMXI – 'Meilleur blog anti-1855'

2011: Robert M. Parker, Jnr: ‘This blogger...’:

2012: Born Digital Wine Awards: No Pay No Jay – best investigative wine story

2012: International Wine Challenge – Personality of the Year Award

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Olivier Cousin trial: 4th June verdict - a moral victory for Olivier Cousin

Before the judgment and after:
(not sure what a SAF lookalike is doing dressed 
as an avocat sitting far left!)

In a judgment that was given in less than three minutes Olivier Cousin was ordered to pay a symbolic civil fine of €1 to both the INAO and the Fédération Viticole Anjou Saumur. In addition he has to pay court costs of 90€ (a fixed sum that goes to the State) and 600€. There is, however, a 20% reduction on the 90€ fee if this paid within a month.

At the full hearing on 5th March 2014 the prosecutor had asked for a fine €5000. A euro a piece is well short of this!

The verdict delivered by Françoise Pietri, the président of the Tribunal, was unfortunately barely audible as she has a very quiet voice and prefers not to use the microphone.  

 "I don't trick people," said Cousin after the verdict. Cousin and his lawyer have 10 days to decide whether to appeal against the judgment. Olivier's wife emphasised that the fine was a civil matter – damage to the plaintiffs’ commercial rights and that her husband had not been condemned by the judges.

Eric Morain*, Cousin’s Parisian lawyer, was ecstatic: “this is a very fine victory today – stupefying. We gained everything we asked for. We are joyful – there is no question of an appeal!”  

Olivier Cousin questioned by journalists 
after the verdict  

There appeared to be no-one present at the hearing from the Fédération Viticole, apart from their lawyer. However, the Fédération has issued a statement:


La Fédération viticole de l’Anjou et de Saumur prend acte de la decision rendue le 4 juin par le tribunal correctionnel d’Angers dans l’affaire opposant le ministère public à Olivier Cousin.

Ce jugement qui condamne Olivier Cousin, vient confirmer:

– Quel’ appellation d’Origine Contrôlée «Anjou»  reconnue depuis 1936 par décret fait l ’objet d’une protection prevue par la loi au même titre que toutes lesautres AOC. L’utilisation du nom de la dénomination« Anjou» pour commercialiser un vin produit en dehors du cadre de l’appellation d’origine est simplement interdite.

– Que celui qui fait le choix de ne pas se soumettre au dispositive decontrôle ne peut utilizer le nom« Anjou» sans se render coupable de contrefaçon et de tromperie. Le choix de produire un vin endehors de l’appellation d’origine est respectable. Cependant, il ne permet pas de jouer les passagers clandestins au detriment des vignerons qui portent l’AOC. Il ne peut y avoir d’exception selon la qualité suppose du vin, le mode de culture, le nombre de bouteilles en cause, la seule localization des vignes ou l’image médiatique du viticulteur.

Ce jugement constitue également un rappel à la loi adressé à ceux qui seraient tentés de détourner la notoriété de l’appellation« Anjou» sans en respecter les règles fixes par les pouvoirs publics. La Fédération viticole de l’Anjou Saumur qui participle à la protection des AOC don't elle a la charge maintiendra sa vigilance pour empêcher ce type de pratiques.'


(Me Nathalie Valade replaced Me Alain Fouquet, who made such a pig's ear of the Fédération and INAO's case at the hearing in March. Following the 2014 municipal elections Fouquet has become a maire adjoint for Angers.)  


The Tribunal de Grande Instance d'Angers appears to have had little sympathy for the six charges brought by the INAO, Fédération Viticole Anjou Saumur and Le Direction Régionale des Enterprises, de la Concurrence. The civil fines are entirely symbolic - the judges appear to have decided that the damage Olivier inflicted on the interests of the INAO and the Fédération was absolutely minimal with the statement from the Fédération more wishful thinking than a true reflection of the reality. Their talk of 'contrefaçon' and 'de tromperie' surely bears little relation to the actual verdict. 

4th June 2014: no picnic this time, just empty 
space and a gathering storm 

In contrast to the hearings of October 2013 and March 2014 there was no picnic, no demonstrations of support in front of the Angers Court. Olivier must have known that the weather forecast would not have been favourable for a picnic today as there have been heavy downpours. Whereas on the two other occasions the weather was been fine and sunny. 

Report on October 2013 hearing when case was put back to March 2014. 

Report on March 2014 hearing


W. Blake Gray said...

Jim: Where can I find a summary of the case?

Jim Budd said...

Blake. I don't think you will find it on an official website. I think your best bet is to contact Eric Morain, Olivier's lawyer. He is very ready to assist the press.