One of Italy’s biggest fraudulent wine rings has been smashed by the Italian Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry Services.

The scandal, dubbed the ‘Maxi Truffa’ or Mega Swindle, involved four regions spanning the length of the country and has so far seen the arrests of seven people as well as the confiscation of thousands of hectolitres of wine.

Italian police were alerted last November when over 2,000 hl of Pinot Grigio found in a routine check in the Veneto turned out to be false.

Documents found at the time led police to Sicily where several days ago 24,000 hl of common white table wine was sequestered. According to transportation documents and invoices found at an undisclosed company near Palermo, the wine was headed for establishments in Lombardy, Emilia and Veneto to be sold as Pinot Grigio delle Venezie IGT. Wines under the IGT (Indicazione Geografica Tipica) denomination must guarantee the wine’s origin.

According to the minister of agriculture, Gianni Alemanno, the production of

denomination-controlled wine must be monitored constantly.

‘Repression of any type of falsification is necessary in order to safeguard

the quality of our products and to guarantee that what is declared on the

label is what the consumer will find in the bottle,’ he said.

The names of the companies involved as well as those people arrested have

not been released.

12 people were accused last November for producing fraudulent Sassicaia, the super Tuscan wine, in 2000.

Written by Kerin O’Keefe