Former Employee Accuses Champagne House of Fraud

A woman is suing her former employer, the Champagne house Didier Chopin. According to reports from France Bleu Champagne-Ardenne and L'Union, Ludivine Jeanmingin is accusing her ex-boss of having used wine from the Ardèche and Spain for making "Champagne".

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Millions of fake champagne bottles in circulation? (Photo: Volodymyr Leus/
Millions of fake champagne bottles in circulation? (Photo: Volodymyr Leus/

The whole story began when Didier Chopin had problems with the banks in the early summer of 2022. Jeanmingin says he barely slept. Then he called her one day and told her about an order for 800,000 bottles of sparkling wine. But things appeared strange. Yellow bottles were replaced by green ones, and Champagne corks had been delivered to Soissons in northern France.

Odd customer reviews began to appear on Google. Jeanmingin began to "collect evidence internally for 10 months" and then informed her colleagues and the responsible authorities in April 2023. As a result, she was terminated.

The mixture flakes out "like snowballs"

She says Chopin added additional carbon dioxide and spirits to the sparkling wines delivered to Soissons and then bottled them as Champagne, with modified packaging. This resulted in flocculation, where small particles clump together. It caused the bottles to look "more like snow globes than Champagne bottles". In total, 1.8 million bottles of fake Champagne, priced at €10 to €20 a bottle, were put on the market. An ex-colleague, who would like to remain anonymous, confirmed the situation, according to The Connexion. This employee had been responsible for the transport of bottles between Soissons and Champlat-et-Boujacourt.

The public prosecutor's office in Reims, however, has so far proceeded with any investigation. According to a report from the radio station France Bleu, the office is waiting for the results of bottle analyses. The food retailer Leclerc, however, has already taken Didier Chopin's products off its shelves.

For her part, Jeanmingin is asking the judiciary to grant her whistleblower status, which would grant her special protections.

Meininger's has not yet received a statement from Didier Chopin about the incidents but, according to L'Union, he denies the accusations. VM

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Piper Heidsieck was the first Champagne house to be certified as a B Corp. Meininger’s talks to Emilien Boutillat, the company's winemaker, who was responsible for the certification of his brand, Charles Heidsieck and Rare Champagne.

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