Fake Prosecco and Pinot Grigio on the Market – Protecting Quality 2007
Thanks to the great Italian wine bloggers Aristide and Lizzy, the wine journalist, for the information necessary this article.
Italian wines are the best wines in the world. I have not tasted all the wines in the world and I am not saying that there are not some fantastic wines produced in every country. I am saying that Italy has the strictest legislation in the world designed to protect the quality of wine and the consumer from corporations who, rightly so, are only interested in making a buck. The legislation regarding alimentary and wine products allows me to say, blindly, when there are two products sitting on the table, one from the US and one from Italy, the Italian product is better. Most of the time I will be right following this assumption. This is not to say that Americans do not know how to make a great product. I have tasted some marvelous California wine. Making a good product with quality ingredients is not the most profitable way to run a company and our government does not think that alimentary quality should stand in the way of corporate profitability.
When I see events like this, in Italy, I am both disappointed that a few unscrupulous and greedy people would harm such an important Italian industry and heartened that the laws on the books actually are there to be enforced. In an operation, which began in 2005, Italian authorities have discovered fraudulent companies providing grapes and wine of unknown origin to a dozen “victims” who sold the wine on international markets. The investigation uncovered a business of 3.2 million .750 liter bottles of Prosecco and Pinot Grigio and confiscated about 1 million bottles ready to be sold.
The “victims” are:
- Banear Scarl - Treppo Grande (UD)
- Beringer - Mercatale Val di Pesa (FI)
- Gallo Vineyards - USA
- La Sociale s.u.r.l. - Brisighella (RA)
- Le Rive Az. Agricola - Ponte di Piave (TV)
- Nuova Commerciale - Ovada (AL)
- Rossetti Srl - Cerreto Guidi (FI)
- Schenk Italia Srl - Ora (BZ)
- Sektkellerei Schloss - Germania
- Sektkellerei Herres - Germania
- Terrazze della Luna - Trento
- Vedovato Mario - Trebaseleghe (PD)
- Vive Srl - Azzano X (PN)
Yes, you see correctly the names of two wines famous in the US and the promoters of the Paris Hilton Prosecco in a can. The authorities are quick to say that the “victims” were unknowingly purchasing the “two buck chuck” and selling it as two of the best white wines on the market. The Italian bloggers, as am I, are a bit more cynical. The thought process is simple,
“These companies knew what they were buying or they are totally incompetent when it comes to grapes and wine.”
Whether these companies were intentionally defrauding the consumer or incapable of telling the difference between a Prosecco grape and Petite Arvine is not important. It is important that we consumers know that when we purchase Gallo or Beringer we are not getting Prosecco or Pinot Grigio. We are buying “two buck chuck” even though it may cost $20. As the investigation proceeds we should see other names appear since the labels under which these wines were distributed has not been completely discovered.
Tags: Prosecco Pinot Grigio White Wine Italian Wine Veneto Sommelier Food and Wine Travel Italy