De Italiaanse wijnwereld is opgeschrikt door een pas ontdekte fraude. De politie onderschepte tot nog toe zo’n 30.000 flessen met valse etiketten uit Montalcino, de Chanti Classico en de Toscaanse kelder van de blinde zanger Andrea Bocelli. In de flessen zat goedkope wijn die tegen het tienvoudige van de waarde werd verkocht. De wijnen zijn achterhaald in supermarkten, bij wijnhuizen, wijnwinkels en bottelarijen. Het is niet uitgesloten dat de fraude nog omvangrijker is dan tot heden aangetoond. De collega’s Rebecca Gibb en Giacomo Oanicacci melden voor Wine-Searcher:
‘Italian police have seized 30,000 bottles of cheap wine posing as Brunello di Montalcino, Chianti and other prestigious Italian wines.
Tuscan police and the Italian Ministry of Agriculture announced this week that over 30,000 bottles of wine have been confiscated in an ongoing investigation. The fraudulent bottles were seized from wineries, bottling plants, supermarkets and wine stores by police and the government’s anti-corruption unit.
Low-quality wine was deliberately mislabeled as higher quality wines such as Brunello di Montalcino and Sagrantino di Montefalco, the police reported. Some of the wines were falsely labeled as Bocelli, the Tuscan winery belonging to blind opera singer Andrea Bocelli.
The wine was then sold at a price ten times higher than the wines’ real value, according to winenews.it and the value of the operation is thought to be in the hundreds of thousands of euros. The police suspect that six companies are involved in the illegal activity but their names have not been released.
The wine trade association for Brunello di Montalcino has already released a statement condemning the activity and has said it will sue for damages.
The president of the Brunello di Montalcino Consorzio, Fabrizio Bindocci, said: “Although the investigation is still in progress, I would say that the producers and entire area of Montalcino are victims of very serious fraud without a doubt but that should not leave a shadow over our DOCG.
“Like any big international brand, we are natural targets for counterfeiters. We are thankful to authorities, through their activity they have been able to uncover this criminal behaviour that taints the industry.”
In a statement on the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry’s website, Minister Maurizio Martina praised the work of the police and described wine as “one of the most important symbols” of Italy’s agricultural heritage.
“We must continue to work with maximum attention to defend our production from counterfeits, which damages the ‘Made in Italy’ [brand],” he said in a statement’.