Brunello wine scandal

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Brunellopoli and Brunellogate are two of the names given by the Italian and English language press to the Brunello wine scandal involving producers of Brunello di Montalcino under suspicion of wine fraud.

In 2008, reports surfaced that an investigation had begun into allegations that some Brunello winemakers had secretly and illegally added different grape types into wines that should, by law, be made with 100% Sangiovese.

At one time over 100, around half of all Brunello wineries were under some form of investigation, known as ‘Operation Mixed Wine’. Vineyards were quarantined and hundreds of thousands of bottles were seized by officials for testing. 20% of the 6.7 million litres of 'Brunello di Montalcino' that were impounded were declassified to Toscana Rosso IGT.

At the time several prominent wineries admitted they were under investigation, including Argiano, Antinori, Castello Banfi and Frescobaldi.

In October 2008, Brunello producers voted to retain the 100% Sangiovese rule with only 4% voting to change the production code.

Seventeen people were originally indicted in the Operation Mixed Wine investigation for ‘cheating in commercial transactions’ and ‘falsely certified public documents’ with all but seven managing successful plea bargaining.

One of the seven was Argiano, who in 2013, was formally acquitted of adulteration because ‘there was no evidence to support the charges’.


Brunello scandal: Argiano aquitted of adulteration

9th July 2013

Brunello di Montalcino producer Argiano has expressed its 'satisfaction' after a Siena court acquitted it of all charges related to the long-running Brunello tainted wine scandal.

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US officially lifts Brunello certification requirement

6th April 2010

The US certification requirement for Brunello di Montalcino has officially been lifted.

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Casanova di Neri avoids legal action in 'Brunellogate' scandal

15th December 2009

Casanova di Neri has escaped legal action over the 'Brunellogate' scandal.

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Adulteration scandal surfaces in Tuscany

11th December 2009

Italian authorities suspect some 10m litres of Tuscan wine may have been blended illegally.

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US clarifies position on Brunello

29th October 2009

US restrictions on Brunello di Montalcino will remain in place, the US Trade Bureau has said.

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US lifts government certification requirement for Brunello

26th October 2009

The U.S. Alcohol, Tobacco, Tax, and Trade Bureau (TTB) will no longer require Italian government certification for imports of Brunello di Montalcino to the U.S.,
Italy’s agriculture ministry has...

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Producers insist on innocence in Brunello affair

7th August 2009

High-profile producers involved in the Brunello di Montalcino adulteration affair have insisted they have done nothing wrong.

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Biondi Santi, Col d’Orcia cleared of Brunello adulteration

31st July 2009

Italian police have closed their investigation into the alleged adulteration of Brunello di Montalcino.

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Brunello: no change in the rules, producers vote

28th October 2008

Brunello di Montalcino producers have voted by a landslide to leave the wine 100% Sangiovese.

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Biondi Santi, Frescobaldi protest rallies Montalcino – but 40% abstain

16th October 2008

Montalcino producers are rallying behind their flagship wine in response to a letter the Brunello Consorzio sent to all producers earlier this week.

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War of words breaks out in Montalcino

26th September 2008

A war of words has broken out between winemakers in Montalcino following proposals by some producers to change the region’s winemaking code.

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Banfi scorns report on Brunello 'contamination'

4th September 2008

Brunello producer Banfi has strongly disputed reports that grapes other than Sangiovese have been found in their wine.

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Italy 'guarantees' Brunello

4th July 2008

The Italian government will guarantee the authenticity and grape composition of all exported Brunello, it announced yesterday.

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Antinori Brunello released by authorities

27th June 2008

Antinori’s ‘Pian delle Vigne’ Brunello has just been been released by the Italian authorities – who are now satisfied it is ‘100% Sangiovese’.

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US drops lab analysis demand for Brunello

18th June 2008

Brunello imported into the US will no longer have to come with a lab analysis proving it is 100% Sangiovese, the government has said.

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Cinzano resigns as chair of Brunello Consorzio

9th June 2008

The chairman of the the Brunello Consorzio has resigned after one year in the post – claiming that ‘his work is done’.

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Government and consorzio clash over Brunello

9th June 2008

The Italian government and the Brunello consorzio are at loggerheads as to who will take charge of the ongoing crisis over alleged adulteration of the wine.

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US threatens to block all Brunello imports

12th May 2008

The United States has threatened to block all imports of Brunello di Montalcino from 9 June.

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