Three professional organizations of Alsace wines were condemned this Thursday by the Competition Authority for price agreement.

They denounce in a press release the "excess" of the fines imposed. 

There was the ham cartel, now there is the Alsace wine cartel.

The Competition Authority on Thursday sanctioned three professional organizations of Alsace wines for an agreement on the price of grapes aimed at increasing that of wine.

"Between 2008 and 2017, the Ava (Association des viticulteurs d'Alsace), the GPNVA (Group of wine-merchant producers of the Alsatian vineyard) and the Civa (Interprofessional Committee of Alsace wines), consulted each other at the end of each harvest on the selling price of the grape for each Alsatian grape variety, including Riesling and Gewurztraminer ", the Authority indicates in a press release.

Up to 348,000 euros fine

To support its decision, the authority even published extracts from meetings of these vineyards.

We can read there for example on August 28, 2012: "it is not admissible to find Alsace wines at 2 or 3 euros. We must stop taking the markets between us."

Practices which fall under the most serious infringements in national and European law recalls for its part the Authority, which imposed a fine of 26,000 euros on the Ava, 2,000 euros on the GPNA and 348,000 on the Civa which represents the interprofession. 

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"Inordinate" sanctions for winegrowers

In a joint statement, the three organizations expressed their dismay.

"The disproportionate administrative penalties are added to the incomprehension concerning the grievances" formulated by the Competition Authority.

"We are not a market like the others, we do not sell dishwashers", comments for his part the leaders of Civa at the microphone of Europe 1. And recall that "for 40 years", they have a Government Commissioner appointed by the State who attends all the meetings and that "he never asked [them] to stop these practices, which were not at all secret".

Finally, Ava, Civa and GNPVA ironically underline in this same document that "Alsatian winegrowers, who account for 0.4% of the world wine trade, have a more harmful effect than GAFA (Google, Amazon, Facebook , Apple), who can rest easy.