Sunday, October 9, 2011

Why Olivier Cousin needs your support

Photo of Olivier Cousin by Jim Budd

What is it with the French wine authorities? I've heard tales of them harassing natural winemakers before, not allowing them to use a recognised appellation for their wines because they're 'untypical'.

The latest example is Olivier Cousin in Anjou who decided to cock a snook at the authorities by putting AOC on his bottles - not appellation d'origine contrôlée but Anjou Olivier Cousin. Possibly unwise given French bureaucrats appear to suffer from a sense of humour failure but surely not serious enough to land him in court. He was apparently already in trouble for non-payment of a levy to the body which administers the appellation on the grounds that he disagreed with their aims. According to Jim's Loire which carries a full account of what's been going on he lost his case, has had his bank account frozen and now faces a fine of up to €45,000.

What can one do to help? Well for a start you could leave a comment in support of Cousin on Sylvie Augereau's site Glougueule. The weight of international opinion, including other winemakers and journalists hopefully counts for something. And you could make a point of buying some of Cousin's wine or ordering some next time you go to a natural wine bar as we will be doing in Paris next week.

Surely there are less draconian ways to deal with non-compliance.


  1. Many thanks for this Fiona. The reaction is out of all proportion to the 'offence'. I hope the petition attracts many signatures.

  2. Great post Fiona. Here's my take on the ridiculous situation: