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Bordeaux wine scam sees estate owner jailed

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French customs officers have dismantled a wine trafficking ring in the Bordeaux region that focused on passing off lower grade products as wines with as 'appellation d'origine contrôlée' (AOC).

The estate owners vineyards were found to be in poor condition, unlike these

The estate owner's vineyards were found to be in poor condition, unlike these

A local wine trader, who also owns three estates that produce Lalande-de-Pomerol, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru and Listrac-Médoc appellations, was handed a two-year prison sentence and an EUR8m (US$9m) fine for his role as the instigator of the scam. His identity has not been disclosed.

In a statement, the country's customs service said the equivalent of EUR9m of AOC wines held by the trader were in reality composed of a mix of various Bordeaux wines acquired fraudulently from outside the appellation zones.

The investigation also revealed the vines owned by the trader were in very poor condition, with the estates' decline in production over several years having been compensated by the use of fraudulent wine.

The investigation, which lasted more than two years revealed than 6,000 hectolitres of wine were made using fraudulent practices between 2010 and 2012.

The wine was sold in supermarkets, using the appellations marketed by the trader.

Seven other people, the trader's accomplice, two brokers, three growers and a driver, were also convicted.


Sectors: Wine

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