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FRANCE: St Emilion de-classification saga could drag on

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French wine body the Conseil des Vins de Saint-Emilion (CVSE) is lobbying the Ministry of Agriculture to appeal to France's Council of State over a recent court decision confirming the scrapping of the 2006 St Emilion classification.

Earlier this week, a Court of Appeal court in Bordeaux upheld a judgement made last July, which annulled the 2006 Saint Emilion classification on the grounds that irregularities had occurred in the tasting process and was therefore invalid. It threw out an appeal by the eight promoted wine estates, the CVSE and AOC state regulatory body, INAO.

"This decision is obviously a setback but hopefully it's not the end of the story," CVSE president , Jean-Francois Quenin, told just-drinks today (18 March).

"The classification is validated by ministerial order so it's up to the INAO and the Ministry of Agriculture to appeal to France's Council of State and we are requesting they do."

The Saint-Emilion classification was created in 1954 and is revised every 10 years. The CVSE will continue to work to the 1996 classification but after the 2009 vintage a new classification will need to be introduced.

"If a new tasting process is required then we are ready to work together to find one that is acceptable to all of us. But there's no point in preparing the ground for a new classification while there are still legal avenues to explore," Quenin added.


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