There are few names more associated with natural wine than Sébastien David. The Loire Valley winemaker’s Hurluberlu is a favorite amongst minimal intervention acolytes (and those who profess to hate natural wine only to go a half bottle deep before finding out the quaff they can’t get enough of is, in fact, “natural”). Even with his relative rock star status among this subset of wine drinkers, though, David is not immune from running afoul of the Bureau d’Investigation des Enquêtes Vinicoles (BIEV)—the Bureau of Investigation of Wine Surveys—who have ordered 2,078 bottles of his Coëf 2016 to be destroyed within the month. Now, a Change.org petition has been created on David’s behalf to keep these bottles of Coëf from meeting their untimely end.
According to the petition, the BIEV picked up samples of David’s 100% Cab Franc Coëf 2016 for inspection, where they found higher than acceptable levels of volatile acidity. The petition goes on to claim that later a technician from the same laboratory found the acid level to be satisfactory after an “organoleptic examination.” Per Sprudge Wine contributor Christina Rasmussen’s reporting on the news, technicians from the lab that sold the BIEV the measuring instrument used in the testing stated that this “was not the first time that an employee of the BIEV did not use the device correctly.” David then commissioned two separate analyses of the Coëf, both finding the volatile acid level to be within an acceptable range. Despite David’s efforts, the prefect of Indre and Loire Corinne Orzechowski has requested via decree that all 2,000 bottles be destroyed.
It goes without saying that removing this many bottles from going to market will come at a huge financial burden to the 17th generation winemaker, compounded by the 85% of the domain’s 2016 crop that was lost due to frost. David’s only recourse at this point is an emergency hearing, which has been granted and will take place Friday, May 10th at 11am in the Administrative Court of Orléans. This is where the petition comes in.
Petition creator Rémy Bossert is hoping to collect 25,000 signatures (the original goal was 15,000 but that has since been surpassed) to show support of David’s cause as well as a means of influencing the court’s opinion on the matter. As of press time, a total number of signatures has eclipsed 17,500. To add your name to the list before the May 10th hearing or for more information about the findings, visit the Change.org page.
Zac Cadwalader is the news editor at Sprudge Media Network and a staff writer based in Dallas.