The European Court of Justice (ECJ) Court of First Instance has rejected a bid by southern France wine producers to hang onto subsidies declared unlawful by the European Commission.

Producer EARL Salvat Père et Fils, a Perpignan-based appellations contrôlée wine committee (CIVDN) and the Paris-based national committee for wine appellation d'origine appealed against Brussels' ruling.

It had opposed as breaking EU state aid rules set-aside premiums paid to Rivesaltes origin wine producers, and subsidised promotions and production for southern origin wine Rivesaltes, Grand Rousillon, Muscat de Rivesaltes and Banyuls.

The French producers claimed Brussels made errors when banning these subsidies, such as issuing an "inadequate" statement of reasons, and that the Commission had not proved the subsidies actually came from national government funds. However the court today rejected these arguments, concluding the subsidies "had been financed by means of resources of [the French] state."