Trial of Burgundian producer begins
24th February, 2014 by Rupert Millar
The trial of a Burgundian producer who has refused to spray his vines against flavescence dorée because he practices biodynamics begins today.
Emmanuel Giboulot is expected in a Dijon courtroom today (24 February) and faces a fine and even a short prison sentence for defying the ministry of agriculture’s instructions.
Following the discovery of flavesence dorée in the south of Burgundy last June, the ministry of agriculture told growers across the region to spray their vines with pesticides just in case the disease carriers – leaf hopper insects (pictured) – were moving north.
Most growers complied but Giboulot, who makes wine near Beaune, refused as the treatment would contradict his biodynamic principles which he has stuck by since the 1970s and he is sure his vines will be able to resist the disease naturally, should it migrate as far north as the Côte d’Or.
The ministry of agriculture has argued that Giboulot’s refusal to comply with its instruction is the equivalent of “refusing to be vaccinated” in the event of a major epidemic.
If Giboulot loses his case he faces up to six months in prison and a €300,000 fine.
His cause has elicited much support and an internet petition launched by l’Institut pour la Protection de la Santé Naturelle (IPSN), has already gained over 400,000 signatures.
Protestors will apparently hold a picnic outside the court in Beaune in support of Giboulot.
Flavesence dorée first surfaced in France in Armagnac in 1949 and has since spread to every vineyard region save the Jura, Alsace and Champagne. There is no known treatment for it save killing the carriers with pesticides and all infected plants have to be uprooted and burned.