The 12 defendants were found guilty of selling 18 million bottles (135,334 hectolitres) of fake Pinot Noir to Gallo. The fraud ran from January 2006 to March 2008 and during this time the defendants made a 7€ million profit. The court today handed down suspended jail sentences of between one and six months and levied fines of between 3000€ and 180,000€. Claude Courset of Ducasse received a six month suspended sentence and was fined 45,000€, while the Sieur d'Argues Co-operative was fined 180,000€. Sadly Sieur d'Arques used to have a high reputation and appeared to be a model co-operative.
It is very sad that this scandal will have confirmed some people's view that wine is all about fakery and will hit all French wine, in particular the region of Languedoc-Roussillon. It undermines the efforts of many independent wine producers throughout France. The sort of producers that this blog hopes to play a part in celebrating and promoting.
See also Michel Smith's posting about the glories of Languedoc-Roussillon.