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A merchant ordered to pay 350,000 euros to a winegrower after buying wine from him at an “abusively low” price

The decision is “unprecedented”.

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A merchant ordered to pay 350,000 euros to a winegrower after buying wine from him at an “abusively low” price

The decision is “unprecedented”. While the Egalim law is at the heart of the agricultural crisis, the courts this Thursday sentenced traders to pay 350,000 euros to a Bordeaux wine grower who accused them of having violated the Egalim law on agricultural prices by buying his wine in bulk. at an “excessively low” rate.

“This is the first time that a court has condemned buyers of agricultural products for charging abusively low purchase prices,” says the applicant’s lawyer, Me Louis Lacamp. Rémi Lacombe, an operator in the Médoc, had sold nearly 8,500 hectoliters to the Cordier and Maison Ginestet companies in 2021 and 2022, at prices of 1,150 or 1,200 euros per barrel (900 liters), depending on the vintage. Or around one euro per bottle, a price that the producer considers to be much lower than its cost price, oscillating according to him between 1500 and 2000 euros per barrel.

The Bordeaux commercial court, where the case was heard on January 11, found in its decision that the two traders had not let Rémi Lacombe make price proposals on the contracts, "which should constitute the basis of pre-contractual negotiation.

Also read: Egalim Law: “All major supermarket chains controlled in the coming days”, announces Le Maire

The winegrower claimed between 715,000 and 512,000 euros from the defendants in order to “repair the damage caused”, on the basis of article L442-7 of the Commercial Code as amended by the Egalim law. Adopted at the end of 2018, it must provide farmers with an income that allows them to live from their work. On Wednesday, Prime Minister Gabriel Attal announced his desire to present a new law by the summer to “strengthen the Egalim system”.

After various calculations and estimating that the fair purchase price per barrel was 1,550 euros, the court ordered the Cordier company to pay it 202,000 euros and Maison Ginestet 152,000 euros. “This decision is important because it tells farmers that acting against buyers who charge abusively low prices, yes, it can achieve a result,” says the winegrower's lawyer. He sees it as a “decision that can be transposed to all agricultural products”, even if he concedes that undertaking such a step “is not easy because farmers are afraid of possible reprisals from traders, afraid that no one will buys their production from them. Lawyers for the traders did not immediately provide answers.

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