The biggest wine scam for years hit the headlines this month as 12 French merchants and Co-op executives from the Languedoc were fined and given suspended jail terms for flogging the equivalent of 18 million bottles of fake Pinot Noir to the US giant Gallo for their brand Red Bicyclette.
We don’t know whether to laugh or cry, or both. I couldn’t stop laughing when I first read about it – until I pictured the image of the guy chuckling at a gag before realising that the joke was on him. It’s immensely damaging to France, and especially to the Languedoc, at a time when French wine exports are plunging. Having spoken to a few of our customers in passing, more than one mentioned the Austrian Anti-Freeze scandal. And that was 25 years ago.
There’s no shortage of coverage on the ‘fake Pinot‘ (google for 550+ news stories) and you can link below to some of the better news items. It now appears that the world’s biggest wine company, Constellation, were also taken in by the fake Pinot, although no-one seems to know who bought what exactly. If you have an opinion or observation, please feel free to comment – we’d like to know what you think.
Here are the links to some of the best articles:
For a quick synopsis – The Week
From a leading wine blog with lots of comments Dr Vino
For a great, hard-hitting article Grapes and Grains NYC blog