• The Libourne court in February sentenced Valérie Murat and the association to 125,000 euros in damages for a "faulty denigration" of Bordeaux wines.

  • Thanks to crowdfunding, a study had shown pesticide residues in wines certified as high environmental value (HVE), a label denounced as misleading by the association.

  • To be able to appeal, Valérie Murat must pay the fine in the amount of 125,000 euros.

It's a cold shower for all anti-pesticide activists in Bordeaux.

Justice on Wednesday withdrew the right of the spokesperson for the Alerte aux Toxiques association to appeal his conviction for having "denigrated" Bordeaux wines, for lack of having paid his fine, a new "verdict in favor of viticulture lobby ”, she denounced.

"It was already a disproportionate and oriented sentence, it is moreover today the most exorbitant right of appeal ever seen", declared to the press the spokesperson of the small Girondine association Alerte aux toxins, Valérie. Murat.

HVE certification in question

In September 2020, the association, which fights against phytosanitary products in viticulture, denounced the presence of synthetic pesticide residues in 22 wines (including 19 Bordeaux) certified High Environmental Value (HVE), on the basis of a study carried out through crowdfunding.

This presence was however weak and legal, according to the laboratory itself, which had distanced itself from the presentation by the association of its results.

The judicial court of Libourne had condemned last February Valérie Murat and the association, to 125,000 euros in damages for a "faulty denigration": 100,000 euros for the benefit of the Interprofessional Council of Bordeaux Wine (CIVB) and 25,000 euros for 'other complainants.

The judgment was accompanied by a provisional execution.

Denigration that would continue

Valérie Murat had lodged an appeal but this appeal was not suspensive and the association had to pay in full. However, the plaintiffs, to request the cancellation of this appeal, argued that the association's payments were insufficient while noting the persistence of "denigrating remarks" on the activist's site and social networks. These grievances were heard by the court of appeal which considered that Valérie Murat, owner of real estate, "does not establish that she would be unable to settle" her sentence, according to a decision consulted by AFP .

“Valérie Murat has two years to pay the sum, and that gives you the right to have the case examined… it is the most expensive appeal in the history of civil justice!

“Quipped his lawyer Eric Morain.

"The CIVB is trying to suffocate me and make me a martyr, they will not succeed," responded Valérie Murat.

Valérie Murat is the daughter of a winegrower who died in 2012 from cancer recognized as an occupational disease after being exposed to a product used in wine treatments and banned in France since 2001. The HVE certification created by the Ministry of Agriculture , does not prohibit the presence of synthetic pesticides.

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  • Pesticides

  • Public health

  • Bordeaux

  • Aquitaine

  • Wine

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