Villains cash in on Millennium

Villains cash in on Millennium News Wine News
  • Friday 14 January 2000

The fizz is likely to be taken out of Millennium parties in the north of England when that bargain magnum of Bollinger turns out be be cheap pear cider.

UK police in Leeds, Cheshire, Leicestershire and Greater Manchester have discovered fraudulent wines behind the labels of several of the most famous Champagne houses.

Officers last November seized a number of cases of 'Moet et Chandon' in Leeds which turned out to be cheap French sparkling wine.

The quantities of label offcuts and packaging waste discovered suggest that substantial numbers of fakes were produced. Magnums of counterfeit Moët have appeared in various places around the Northwest, turning up at car-boot sales, off-licences, convenience stores and restaurants. The counterfeit labels on the bottles are well-printed and convincing but they can easily be detected by the fact that they bear the words Special Edition and 'Millennium' (sic): Moët does not produce such a cuvée.

Several of the colours on the label are wrong, as is the capsule (the word Moët should be embossed, not applied as a sticker). Another victim of the Champagne fakers is Bollinger. Magnums of fake Bollinger Special Cuvée have been found in numerous towns around the Northwest as well as in Leicestershire and in Scotland.

Once again off-licences and car boot sales were among the sources of the fakes, but some were even spotted consigned for auction. The fakers appear to have taken £2.99 ($4.70) bottles of low-alcohol perry, replaced the label with a counterfeit Bollinger one, and put on a £20 ($32) price tag. The fakes are recognisable by their 'Millennium' labels - there is no Bollinger Millennium cuvée (although some Grand Année produced by the firm for Berry Brothers does state: 'Specially selected for the Millennium by Berry Brothers and Rudd').

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