Massive scale of Rhône fraud exposed

French officials have released the details of an enormous fraud perpetrated by a leading bottler in the Rhône, thought to be Raphaël Michel, which was of such size that at one point up to 15% of all Côtes-du-Rhône was falsely labelled.

In a statement released late last week by the Direction générale de la concurrence, de la consommation et de la répression des fraudes (DGCCRF), it was revealed that some 480,000 hectolitres of table wine, totalling many tens of millions of bottles and the equivalent of 15% of Côtes-du-Rhône production – enough to fill 13 Olympic swimming pools it was noted – was passed off as Côtes-du-Rhône, Côtes-du-Rhône Villages and even Chateauneuf-du-Pape (around 10,000hl) between October 2013 and June 2016.

The DGCCRF has described the case as a “massive misuse of the Côtes-du-Rhône AOC”.

The company behind the fraud was not named in the report but there is little doubt that it is Raphaël Michel, a major bulk bottler in the Vaucluse and one of the biggest in France.

In August last year the company’s chairman, Guillaume Ryckwaert, and several managers were arrested on charges of fraud, deception and tax violations.

Ryckwaert was eventually bailed for €1 million and barred from having any dealings with the company during the investigation.

It was already thought at the time that the fraud was potentially as large as 300,000hl and several large contractors, including French supermarket chain Carrefour, cancelled their supply contracts with the company.

Raphaël Michel has been placed under the administration of the French courts. Producers associations in the region are believed to be preparing their own suits against him for bringing their reputations into disrepute.

It was also not stated where exactly the bottles were sold but the UK was an important market for the company.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to our newsletters

Customer Services Administrator

Speciality Drinks
London, UK

Group Stock Analyst

Berkmann Wine Cellars
London, UK

Sales Operations Executive

Enotria Winecellars Ltd
London, UK

Global Head of Trade Marketing

Atom Brands
Tonbridge, UK

Brand Manager - NPD & Go to Market

Maverick Drinks
London, UK

Brand Manager Marketing Entry Level

Distell International Ltd
London or Glasgow

Brand Manager - Maternity Cover

Hatch Mansfield
Ascot, Berkshire

Finance Manager

The Benevolent, the Drinks Industry Charity
London

Customer Service Executive

Berkmann Wine Cellars
London, UK

Pink Rosé Festival

Cannes,France
7th Feb 2019

IBWSS UK

London,United Kingdom
11th Mar 2019
Click to view more

Fortified Masters 2018

Deadline : 23rd November 2018

The Global Riesling Masters 2018

Deadline : 26th November 2018

Click to view more

The Global Beer Competition

Find out this competition results !

The Global Syrah Masters 2018

the drinks business is proud to announce The Global Syrah Masters 2018.

Click to view more