Wednesday, March 18, 2009


The classification is generating some reactions… Below are the comments posted by Frédéric Borliachon following my article “Unfair”:

“I have been following your blog for quite a while and your comments help better understand the wine world (producer, wine merchants, etc…)

I understand that the properties promoted are disappointed by another reversed court decision, but let’s not forget that their revenues won’t be affected as they haven’t been demoted from their last classification.
However, there are big price differences between grands crus, grands crus classes and first B, and the big losers would have been the demoted.
Think about the prejudice caused to the image of a demoted property, and how many vintages it would take to rebuild…?

You will say that being demoted is certainly deserved…
I would agree if the classification procedure was with “no” mistake, which wasn’t the case.

This comment doesn’t challenge the work done by the winemakers (or should I say the owners) nor the committee from the Saint Emilion trade union.

I am sorry that the procedure of classification was done so “lightly”… as much for the promoted than for the demoted, but also for the others who will “pay” for the damage done… at least in term of image.

Thank you Mr. THUNEVIN, for the work you are doing for the wines of Bordeaux and others, and offer a platform for us to express ourselves.”

Frédéric, thank you for your comments.
Of course it is more complicated for the demoted and ex-promoted. I am not a lawyer, but even if I understand that the demoted have the right to request equal treatment – and everybody knows that it wasn’t the case – then, why are the properties promoted – who are not responsible for this mess - are the only ones being punished?
You mention “no prejudice” for them. Go ask each of them to give you the financial (and moral) cost caused by this prejudice. You will be surprised by the number!
I repeat, I am closer to ex-promoted that the demoted for several reasons (at least two):
First: I also applied for Valandraud and Clos Badon Thunevin to be classified and I knew the rules and the names of the people on the commission. I did accept the rules even if I found them a bit hard to understand: Do you need to have 100/100 to all the questions or just reach the average? Are there elimination clauses?
Regarding Valandraud, if the average was sufficient, I would have been promoted!

Secondly: How can the previous classification be acceptable when the same methods were used? the methods used in 1996 are valid, but not in 2006… depending on how some are affected!
It is too hard for me to accept.
The subject is much more serious: will there still be a classification? Is it useful if it creates such a fiasco?
How and how fast can the damage be fixed? And who will profit from the “crime”?

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