Chewing gum in bottle uncovers Liverpool wine scam

A counterfeit wine scam was uncovered in Liverpool last week when chewing gum was found in a bottle of Blossom Hill White Zinfandel.

liverpool-wine-scam.jpgThe gum was spotted by a customer who bought the wine from a shop in north Liverpool. Trading Standards officers were advised and raided the shop, seizing 50 75cl bottles, which were on sale for £5 each.

According to a spokesman for Liverpool City Council, initial tests show the “wine” had oxidised. It has been sent for further tests.

The spokesman said the bottles appeared to be from well-known wine brands, including Echo Falls, Blossom Hill, Kumala and Hardys.

The bottles had a metal screwcap, secured with a plastic heat seal, but no metal collar like the genuine bottles.

Trading Standards said the counterfeiters were likely to have found empty used bottles and screwcaps, restocked the bottles with liquid, and then secured them with a plastic seal.

Officers from Liverpool Trading Standards Alcohol and Tobacco Unit (ATU) have since visited more than 100 premises in the city and urged people to be vigilant.

Councillor Tim Beaumont, assistant cabinet member for environment and climate change, said: "Until we have the results of the analysis, we do not know if the substances in the bottle will have any effects on people’s health – hopefully it will prove to be just unpleasant but harmless."

Lucy Shaw, 27.06.2011

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