Legendary Tuscan cabernet Sassicaia is to be protected with new security measures as wine fakes still trouble the market.

Sassicaia’s bottles have been redesigned with the estate name, Tenuta San Guido, now embossed on the glass. This comes after 12 people were arrested over the Christmas period for producing 20,000 forged bottles of the super Tuscan wine.

This is the second such case concerning the prestigious Italian label. In 2000, Italian police confiscated around 16,000 bottles of fake Sassicaia labelled as the 1994 and ’95 vintages.

The recent fakes were also of the 1994 vintage, in total worth around £1m.

As a further security measure, Sassacaia is also considering the use of special printing techniques for the labels and even implanting a microchip in each label.

This echoes a project that is in the pipeline at the French champagne house Louis Roederer where each bottle is given an individual code number, only readable using special equipment. The number allows the owner to check the history of the bottle, where each component wine in the blend originated and when it was harvested and the distribution channels the bottle has gone through. According to Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon, cellar manager at Louis Roederer, customers will be able to run these checks online by the end of the year.

Louis Roederer is hoping this will kill off the recent spate of underhand dealings in the world of champagne.

Many of those involved in the trade admit that there are fake wines around. In the late 1990s, the scare came from Asia where fake Mouton Cadet was being produced in bulk quantities. Britain reportedly has a ‘Claret ring’ of unscrupulous brokers who prey on inexperienced investors.

Forged bottles of Penfolds premium St.Henri and the more affordable Rawson’s Retreat were discovered in Syndey around four years ago, and in the same year in France several inauthentic bottles of the Bordeaux giant Pétrus turned up in murky circumstances.

Written by Oliver Styles