ITALY: Italy reassures US on wine fraud checks
Italian authorities have sought to reassure the US Government that new checks to prevent wine fraud are working.
The move, made by Italy's agriculture minister Luca Zaia in a meeting with the US Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), follows several investigations into deliberate mislabelling of wines in Italy.
"Minister Zaia reassured TTB that his office has taken full responsibility for the integrity of all 500 Italian wine denominations and has ensured that none of the mislabelled products that have been the subject of numerous press reports for months now are on the market," said the TTB this week.
One of the most high-profile fraud investigations has been the probe of Brunello di Montalcino wines, which at its height in 2008 saw Italian police confiscate stocks from top producers.
Police suspected that some producers were illegally bulking up their wines with grape varieties other than the designated Sangiovese variety.
All stocks have since been released, but a final ruling on the case is still be published in Italy and there has been confusion on what authorities discovered.
"Minister Zaia advised that the court case would be concluding soon and that TTB would be provided with information on the final disposition of the cases as soon as possible," said the TTB.
Strict certification requirements for Brunello di Montalcino imports will remain in place in the US, TTB said.
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