French workers who threatened to destroy 7m bottles of Champagne have stepped down, it was reported yesterday. The workers at the insolvent Champagne maker Bricout et Delbeck in the northern town of Reims removed their barricades after an appeals court approved a plan to save most of the company's jobs.

The workers at Bricout et Delbeck's Champagne cellars lifted the threat after a court approved the transfer of the company's assets to other French Champagne houses Moet et Chandon and Vranken-Pommery. The move will save around 90 of the 130 jobs which had been under threat.

The appeals court rejected a challenge to the plan issued by Bricout's former chief executive Pierre Martin. Had the court not rejected the challenge, the workers had threatened to destroy 6m bottles of Champagne and another 800,000 bottles of the unfinished product, worth around €50m (US$58m).

Martin is under formal investigation for fraud and abuse of trust following the discovery of a black hole in the company's accounts.