Gayda and Mirc claimed they had no idea how much Pinot Noir is planted in Languedoc-Roussillon nor how much is produced. They claimed that as vin de pays was only a marginal part of their business – less than 10%, especially bulk sales their interest was devoted to Sieur d'Arques more prestigious products.
Neither the French fraud squad nor the court were over-impressed by this line of defence. In addition to being president of one of the leading cave cooperatives in the region Mirc is a representative on the INAO, the Fédération Départmentale des Caves Cooperatives and the Syndicat des Producteurs de Vins de Pays d'Oc.
Reading the court summing up you might conclude that Sieur d'Arques know nothing and care even less about Pinot Noir, which is rather curious as Pinot Noir features as part of the blend in no less than six of their Crémants de Limoux – Blason Rouge, Blason d'Arques, Bulle de Crémant Rosé (10% Pinot Noir – limited amount because PN isn't widely available in the region?), Diaphane Grande Cuvée and Crémant Sieur d'Arques Brut and Extra Brut. Admittedly these are AC wines, so perhaps they take more care over its origins.
Gayda's defence was further undermined by Sieur d'Arques oenologue, Christelle Della'Ava, handing over a copy of an email received by Alain Gayda on 28th October 2005 from ONIVINS detailing how much Pinot was planted in Languedoc-Roussillon. Gayda had asked ONIVINS how much Pinot was planted. Gayda passed on a copy of this email to Christelle Dell’Ava, who was then Sieur d’Arques chief oenologist in charge of the bulk Pinot market). Gayda wrote ‘confidentiel !!’ in the margin. What could possibly be confidential about the plantings of Pinot in Languedoc-Roussillon unless you were already in the process of setting up the fraud?
Cave Cooperative de Barbaira: 430,511
Cave Cooperative de Montblanc: 285,961
Cave Cooperative de Canet d'Aude: 249,517
Pierre Fabre: 46,027
La Clairiege: 40,154
SARL Vailhere Courtage: 36,462
Cave Cooperative Cournonteral: 9905
Vignobles Alain Maurel: 458,390
SAS Ducasse: 3,705,101
Sieur d'Arques: 1,307,024 on a turnover of more than 16 million € from the sales of Pinot.