Beaujolais sugar not so sweet
The 53 Beaujolais wine producers who were on trial for illegally adding sugar to their wines have been found guilty and are to be fined up to €20,000 - a much higher fine than the original demand by the prosecution of between €700 and €1,500.
Although chaptalisation – adding sugar to wine - is legal, the winemakers were found to have increased the alcohol in their wines by over 2% which is the legal limit for the region).
Three branches of French supermarket Intermarché also received fines for trafficking the 600 tonnes of sugar and the intermediaries who bought and sold the sugar received suspended sentences and fines.
The ruling was condemned as harsh by the local wine trade body Interbeaujolais who said it didn't take into account the winemakers' good intentions and the difficulties of the 2004 vintage.
The case also highlights the difference in the law between Beaujolais and regions such as Champagne or the Loire, where, in difficult years, producers can increase alcohol by 2.5 to 3%.