Shit Wine, Great Wine, Average Wine: Call it What You Want in France
That’s not fair is it. Let me rephrase.
It appears that "Vin de Merde" is approved for discussion in France.
This is the final outcome of a somewhat bizarre case that put on display not only French regional sensibilities about local wines but also the rather restrictive interpretation of Freedom of Speech that the land of Liberty employs.
In 2002 French courts fined "Lyon Mag" the equivalent of more than $300,000 as a penalty for libeling the Beaujolais producers. The actual offense?
Lyon Mag quoted François Mauss, head of the Grand Jury of European Tasters, who said that much of Beaujolais wine was "not proper wine" and that its producers were ‘conscious of commercialising a "vin de merde."
Translation: Beaujolais winemakers are consciously producing Shit Wine.
Pretty harsh. But grounds for libel charges? A French appeals court didn’t think so, overturning the libel judgments citing article 10 of the European Convention that the general public has the right to be given varied opinions on any subject.
This of course does not settle the question about Beaujolais. However, it does suggest that a fair minded judicial system exists in France.