Saturday, 15 February 2014

14.2.14 Barbadillo Fine Reduced

The Spanish High Court has reduced the fine of nearly 1 million euros imposed on Bodegas Barbadillo by the Comision Nacional de Competencia (Office of Fair Trading) to 250,000 euros. This is the latest in a series of dramatic reductions by the Court of fines imposed by the body on bodegas for alleged price fixing on own label wines for export.

Nine bodegas, Fedejerez and the Consejo were together originally fined a total of 6.7 million. Some growers’ organisations were also implicated for agreeing grape prices, and fined 0.9 million. The court agrees there was an infraction (debatable), but considers the fines excessive, if legal.

A competition law expert says that neither the Comision nor the Court really understand how the wine trade works. The whole business was sparked by Nueva Rumasa denouncing the approval of allegedly discriminatory sales quotas. This led to a large scale investigation into trading practices. Barbadillo is considering whether to appeal.

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