As if the French wine industry wasn't having enough problems with sagging sales and increased competition, a court has ruled that winemakers in the Bordeaux region no longer may use a label designation that had allowed them to charge higher prices.
A court ruled that houses using the grands crus (great growth) label must cease doing so because the classification jury showed "partiality" by visiting only seven of the 95 candidate vineyards that produce Saint Emilion wines.
"It's going to perturb sales for sure," Jacques Gautier, head of the Bordeaux section of the National Institute of Appellation d'Origine which oversees the classification process, told newspaper reporters.
Earlier this year a new list of top wines was released for 2006-2016. The number of grand crus dropped by seven, to 61.
A panel of wine brokers, merchants, oenologists and a wine professor rejudge Saint Emilions every 10 years to see which ones will be allowed to use the special designation. Such a designation rates the potential of the vineyard, based on such factors as climate and soil rather than on the wine itself.
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