A month in wine
Fraudulent wines on sale in France; Obama supports Porto Protocol; Penfolds product innovation
AN iNvEsTigATioN CoNDuCTED by France’s anti-fraud watchdog DgCCRF has found
millions of bottles-worth of Spanish wine that has been misleadingly labelled to make consumers think it is home-grown.
The DgCCRF claims to have audited 179 outlets in 2016 and 564 in 2017, finding that in those years 22% and 15% respectively had wines falling foul of labelling rules.
The investigation examined imported wine as a whole, although officials said that spanish wine imports became the focus. They reported several instances of spanish wines being passed off as French, with the amount of wine involved in each case ranging from 2,000hl to 34,500hl – up to 4.6 million bottles in total.
Common issues included spanish wine ‘sold in bulk as French wine or even assuming a French igP name’, according to the watchdog.
if found guilty of such deception, those involved face fines of up to 10% of annual turnover, or €300,000 – whichever is greater – and up to two years in prison. No specific companies or retailers have been named.
Fraud officers discovered imported wines sold as ‘bag-in-box’ that only mentioned the wine’s true origin on the underside of the container. others used terms such as ‘bottled in France’ or featured misleading images of châteaux on labels.
The DgCCRF reported that a single shop was forced to remove 16,700 bottles of
spanish wine from shelves, adding that there was also evidence of problems in some French restaurants and cafes.
‘one restaurant owner sold a pichet – or pitcher – of igP oc wine when the wine was actually spanish,’ the watchdog said, following several inspections.
French media, which has widely reported the DgCCRF findings, has said that officers found a particular problem with rosé wine. The revelations come as a result of the latest in a series of fraud investigations targeting the wine industry and its supply chain across France, suggesting that governing bodies are taking a more proactive stance towards the sector.
Above: winemakers in the south of France took direct action in 2017 by destroying Spanish wines on sale in supermarkets in the Nîmes area