Burgundy trader Cottin Frères, best-known for its Labouré-Roi brand, is the subject of a judicial investigation into fraudulent activity.

Media reports late last week voiced suspicions that the company had contravened regulations relating to the mixing of appellations and false labelling, leading to the launch of an investigation into the firm. Subsequently, Burgundy wine trade body the Bureau Interprofessionnel des Vins du Bourgogne (BIVB) has decided to join proceedings as a civil party, in order to be kept informed of the details of the case.

When contacted by just-drinks today (18 June), a spokesperson for Cottin Frères declined to comment on the investigation. No one at the public prosecutor's office in Dijon which is conducting the investigation, could be reached.

“More than half of Burgundy wines are exported to some 150 countries,” said Michel Baldassini, deputy chairman of the BIVB. “This is why any suspicion of dishonest practice that might tarnish the reputation of these wines cannot be tolerated.”

In terms of volume sales, Cottin is ranked fourth among Burgundy traders, excluding Beaujolais, and is an important exporter of wine, the BIVB said.

It has a an annual turnover of EUR32m (US$40.5m) and annual volumes of around 40m bottles.