FRANCE (Villefrance-sur-Saone) - More than 40 French vintagers from Beaujolais had to stand their trial on Monday for being reproached to adding way more sugar to the grape juice than allowed, both before and during fermentation. They are said to have done this in order to increase the alcohol content of their wines. In addition to that, the 40 vintagers were accused of buying the sugar in kilo-amounts from the black market.
Judge Nelly Pradel, who holds his office in the country town Villefrance-sur-Saone, opened the trial session in a very unconventional way. He tried to reach the said vintager's conscience and said: "You work and live in Beaujolais, one of the most popular wine-making regions in the world. By doing what you did, not only do you damage our tradition-rich region, but also you damage your very own product. No matter what result we will come to at this or any other trial, I strongly urge you to abide by the rules for wine-making in the future."
During the first trial session the vintagers admitted adding sugar to their wines, because they had wanted to add one to two more percentage points of alcohol to their wines. Furthermore, they justified their adding of sugar by saying that in large industrial wine cellars this adding of sugar, in the form of chaptalisation*, was fairly common.
*Chaptalisation, named after the French chemist Jean-Antoine Chaptal (1756-1832), is a method used in wine-making with the goal of increasing the final alcohol content of wine by adding sugar to the grape juice before or during fermentation. (aw.yoopress)