31 March 2023 | Tarnished reputation and a hefty bill for IVV

The Interprofession de la Vigne et du Vin du Valais (IVV) has had one legal setback after another. And it's costing a lot. Who is going to pay? Which begs the question: does the IVV really defend the interests of the wine industry, or just the personal interests of its directors?

Four lost cases in a single month. Hard to do worse. Yet that is the unflattering record of the IVV in March 2023. These definitive defeats before the Federal Court bring to a close all the proceedings brought by the Interprofession against Dominique Giroud since 2015. At the time, the IVV had overreacted after the broadcast of the famous Temps Présent report, which subsequently led to another resounding defeat for Dominique Giroud's opponents, namely a conviction of the French-language television station for obstinacy and lack of impartiality by the same Federal Court.

It was a human error. After losing at first instance, the IVV could have recognised this and dropped the proceedings. But no. It invented every pretext, including the supreme one of defending the interests of the industry, to drag out the proceedings all the way to the country's highest court. What have we not seen, read and heard! Unfair competition, swindling, unfair management, forgery of documents and so on. The icing on the cake: an attempt to bring a civil action for statute-barred offences...

Such a fiasco would have deserved some publicity. Because the IVV's faults have been proven. It has been established that the IVV did not have solid legal arguments to justify its actions. It was not beaten on cases where the outcome was uncertain. It persisted in cases that were lost in advance. This irritated our country's highest judicial authority, which did not mince its words when it came to ordering the IVV to pay all costs and expenses in order to punish, as the law allows it to do, those who take legal action "unfoundedly" or "maliciously".

With the benefit of hindsight, we can reconstruct IVV's dishonest strategy. It consisted of using empty legal proceedings to provoke media coverage that tarnished Dominique Giroud's reputation. We have lost count of the number of articles and reports in which complicit journalists handed their microphones to the President of the IVV to give him the opportunity to pour out his hatred, while at the same time casting doubt on the integrity of the magistrates in charge of the proceedings.

But the Valais court was right, as the Federal Court has now ruled. A final and definitive verdict. The IVV abused its rights at the expense of Interprofession members. With a hefty final bill. In addition to the thousands of francs paid directly to the courts, the IVV must contribute CHF 13,693.60 towards Dominique Giroud's defence costs. But this is only the tip of the iceberg. Several tens of thousands of francs (or even a six-figure sum?) were spent on lawyers' fees. Exactly how much? Will we ever know? Will IVV members demand full transparency from their management?

Will journalists be more curious? It's doubtful. Their bias against Dominique Giroud is well known. They won't be interested in exposing a scandal that involves his declared opponents. Such is journalism these days.

That's a shame. The winegrowers and wine merchants who pay into the IVV, not to mention the partners and sponsors, deserve to know who they're dealing with. Especially as this is not the first time that those who are supposed to be defending the interests of the industry have been caught red-handed. In 2019, the The Observers had revealed the amount of money that the IVV was allegedly losing the Valais wine industry by inappropriately downgrading Fendant AOC to 2nd category Chasselas "vin du pays". A tidy sum: CHF 1.7 million.

The moral of this story is that the IVV's leaders are spending their members' money badly. From now on, members can no longer say they didn't know. Will there be consequences? It's up to them to decide how they want to put an end to this inglorious episode in the history of their Interprofession.

Picture of Dominique Giroud

Dominique Giroud

I'm facing a media storm. I've been wrongly accused of tampering with my wines to make money. Journalists have overdramatised and criticised without any nuance. In so doing, they have tarnished and perhaps ruined forever my reputation as an oenologist. Faced with these accusations, I have decided to publish my version of events on this website.

Readers will be the judge.

Share :



To improve your experience on my site, we use cookies. By clicking on the button below, you consent to the use of these cookies in accordance with our privacy policy.