Hubert de Boüard sentenced and Philippe Castéja released in Bordeaux

Hubert de Boüard, co-owner of the famous Château Angélus, is found guilty of illegal taking of interest. On the other hand, Philippe Castéja is released by the criminal court of Bordeaux.

The affair has stirred the wine world in Bordeaux since 2012. At that time, “Angélus “, the famous Grand Cru of St-Emilion, had been promoted from Premier Grand Cru Classé B, to Premier Grand Cru Classé A, that is to say the highest, and Trotte Vieille maintained as Premier Grand Cru Classé B.

At the same time, three family properties (Croque-Michotte, Corbin-Michotte and La Tour du Pin Figeac) had been rejected even though they had been classified since 1955. They then began their legal fight in early 2013.

Fight which finds an epilogue this Monday, October 25, 2021, the criminal court therefore found guilty of illegal taking of interest by charge of public service mission Hubert de Boüard, co-owner of the famous Château Angélus and wine consultant. In other words, he was indeed judge and party during the renewal of this classification. The court recognizes an active role for him as president of the organization of defense and management (ODG) of Saint-Emilion, in particular through exchanges of mail with the INAO (the national institute of the Origin and of quality), an organization that follows the rules of the famous classification. This classification was established by an independent commission.

Hubert de Boüard is fined 60,000 euros, including 20,000 suspended. His representative did not speak following this deliberation in court.

On the other hand, Philippe Castéja, trader and owner of Château Trotte Vieille who was also being prosecuted, was released by the court. Justice held that he was present at the meetings but withdrawn from the decisions.

The court on the other hand dismisses for moral and financial damages the three castles which had brought the case to justice. The latter considers that the link has not been established between the role then played by Hubert de Boüard and the downgrading of these properties by the INAO. They were revealing of the illegal taking of interests but do not recognize a direct link so far. One of them said to himself satisfied with this guilt. “That we have not recognized all the financial and moral damages, we know that they exist, it is obvious, but that the illegal taking of interest has been recognized, demonstrated and condemned, that is a Victoire” rejoices Pierre Carle, of the Château Croque-Michotte.
The lawyer representing the civil parties, Eric Morain, underlines the relief of his clients.

We were told that it was not possible to have this type of case tried in Bordeaux and there was a trial.

Maître Eric Morain – civil party lawyer

France 3 Aquitaine

“We were told that it was not possible to win and there was a conviction. After eight years of the civil parties’ obstacle course, it is a satisfaction and a relief. Justice said that indeed during this classification procedure, there had been a certain number of interventions, participation in decisions which had not been fair and today legal. “

Hubert Boidron, from Corbin-Michotte, would have liked the court to go further : “The compensation, we did not believe too much. But the problem is that the justice system is too timid.”

A decision that could well have an echo during the examination of the administrative litigation still in progress. Clearly, what will become of the 2012 ranking? Will it remain as it is? His judicial fate may therefore not be known before the publication of his replacement, in 2022.