NEWS » Fake Brunello di Montalcino discovered

Fake Brunello di Montalcino discovered

Imagine you came back home from work, you’ve been looking forward to sip a glass of Brunello di Montalcino all day. You pour it into a glass and…
it doesn’t taste as good as it should!

It would be terrible wouldn’t it? Luckily it won’t happen for real as the Italian finance police confiscated the equivalent of more than 220,000 bottles of fake Brunello and Rosso di Montalcino, before it was bottled for ageing and put on the market.

The finance police of Siena, thanks to the warning of the Brunello di Montalcino wine consortium, discovered the fraud to the damage of the international image of one of the most famous Docg wines in the world. Brunello di Montalcino is, in fact, a renowned wine exported by 70% to the US, Asia, and Central America. The fraud would have affected restaurants and private buyers all around the globe.

The police officers in Siena reported that a wine expert was selling low-quality wine with fake Brunello and Rosso di Montalcino labels, after falsifying the region’s wine database. The buyers were bulk suppliers willing to sell the fake wine to local distributors.

The scam has been defined as the biggest ever carried out in the agricultural sector and if it had succeeded, fake Brunello would have been on the table of half the restaurants of the world. The value of the fake wine amounted to at least 1 million Euros.

The special computer skills of the winemaker also allowed him to get inside the home banking system of two entrepreneurs, to transfer funds to his name on foreign banks, and to seize with counter operations,   350,000  Euros from the accounts of one of them.

The winemaker is now accused of commercial fraud, illegal access to the government’s information system and misappropriation of funds. He has now been banned from living in Montalcino. At the moment he is the only person under investigation but other collaborators in the wine and sale sectors might also have been involved. The damage could have been so significant that the Brunello di Montalcino consortium of winemakers and authorities in Tuscany plan to sue for damages.

The scandal is the second in the Italian wine sector this year. A multimillion-euro scam was foiled by the police in May. In that case, table wine was falsely labelled as being produced by the winery belonging to the Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli. 

Giulia Lombardo

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