A joke or false marketing?

Wine producers should not deceive consumers when they promote their wines. This story is about Château de Reignac in Entre-deux-Mers. This chateau was bought in the 1990s by Yves Vatelot. His ambition from the very beginning was to make a high-quality Bordeaux. The natural conditions are there. In fact, he thinks that his soil is as good as that of some classified chateaux in Médoc. That’s why he put an advertisement in Le Figaro in 2011 with a big picture of the bottle and the text: Reignac Premier Grand Cru Classé, followed by an asterisk and then this text in a somewhat smaller print: “If this were true, few would buy it.” At the bottom of the ad was the price: 22 euro. Very modest compared to a premier cru classé.

But you do not make joke unpunished with the concept of Grand Cru Classé in Bordeaux. Vatelot was sued by the Union of Grand Cru Classés 1855 and now, after an extended process, has lost also his appeal. But he does not give up. His last chance is the Cour de Cassation in Paris, France’s highest court. Admittedly, his fine was low, but he wants to be proven right. He thinks it is obvious that every literate consumer understands that his 22 euro wine is not a Premier Grand Cru Classé. Probably true, but I do not think that is the issue here.

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Chateau Latour tower and vineyard, Bordeaux

Chateau Latour tower and vineyard, Bordeaux, copyright BKWine Photography

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