Counterfeiting gang arrested
Counterfeit five million bottles of wine
Almost five million bottles of Spanish wine were declared and sold as originating in France between 2013 and 2019. Now the gang was exposed and could be arrested.
French authorities have unmasked a new counterfeiting ring, as the British newspaper The Times recently reported.
French authorities have unmasked a new counterfeiting ring, as the British newspaper The Times recently reported. Inexpensive wines from Spain were bought for a few euros a bottle and then resold at a higher price than French wine.
While some of the counterfeits ended up on the market as simple French table wine, some of the counterfeiters also declared their cheap Spanish wines to be Bordeaux from renowned regions such as Pomerol or Saint-Julien. According to the public prosecutor, the counterfeiting gang made a profit of around four million euros between 2013 and 2019.
Multiple intermediaries involved
The start of the wine fraud is said to have been triggered by the poor vintage of the rainy Bordeaux vintage 2013. The management of the Celliers Vinicoles du Blayais company was reportedly concerned that they would not be able to fulfill the ongoing contracts due to the poor harvest. A wine merchant friend of mine was commissioned to import Spanish wines.
The wine merchant friend then sold the imported Spanish wines to a second French wine merchant. This changed the origin papers of the wines so that they do not come from Spain but from France. Ultimately, the wines declared as French were sold to Celliers Vinicoles du Blayais and ended up mainly on the wine shelves of French supermarkets.
Lawyers for an accused employee at Celliers Vinicoles du Blayais declined to comment. What is clear, however, is that around five million counterfeit wine bottles are involved. The five arrested people now have to answer before the criminal court in Bordeaux. The possible penalties range from a fine to seven years in prison.