Italian police at the Port of Livorno have confiscated 30,000 bottles of red wine labelled as Amarone.
The wine was on the point of being shipped to the US.
According to the Minister of Agriculture’s website, the confiscation is the result of an ongoing investigation headed by a Treviso prosecutor into fraudulent practices within the local wine industry.
Officials say that the wine involved is not actually Amarone, the Veneto’s most renowned wine. They will not reveal what is actually inside the confiscated bottles.
‘We will not tolerate anyone who is trying to cheat consumers,’ agriculture minister Luca Zaia said. ‘We are going to continue fighting against fraudulent products and defending law-abiding workers.’
Though authorities have not released the name of the firm at the heart of the scandal, Luca Sartori, of the eponymous winemaking house and president of the Valpolicella Consorzio, is convinced the company involved is not an Amarone or Valpolicella producer.
He told decanter.com, ‘This is a very different situation from the ongoing Brunello investigation in Montalcino. This is not a question of an Amarone producer who has adulterated his wine, but one which has put Amarone labels on bottles of generic wine.’
Sartori pointed out that all Amarone bottled after 1 July of this year will have a government issued quality-control band on the capsule. Consumers can check the wine’s pedigree on the Consorzio’s website.
Counterfeiting these bands is seen as equivalent to counterfeiting bank notes and carries an automatic jail sentence.
According to Sartori, once authorities release all the details including the identity of the company involved, the Consorzio will take legal action.
Written by Kerin O’Keefe