Police uncover wine fraud ring in Oltrepò Pavese
Italian police have uncovered a wine fraud ring in Oltrepò Pavese, in the northern Italian region of Lombardy, responsible for creating and commercialising over a million litres of fake wine.
As reported by Meininger’s, the Italian police made five arrests on 22 January after raiding 28 premises in several regions across the country.
Workers at a co-operative in Oltrepo Pavese, in the province of Pavia, had used large quantities of sugar, additives and prohibited grape varieties to make fake Oltrepò Pavese DOC and PGI wines in order to increase production volumes.
According to the Italian police, the fraudsters used flavourings to try to imitate the aromatic profile and taste of Oltrepo Pavese wines, some of which were falsely labelled as organic wines. It is uncertain whether any of the counterfeit wine was exported.
According to Meininger’s, Alberto Carini, chairman of the Cantina Sociale di Canneto Pavese co-op in Oltrepò Pavese, and Aldo Venco, vice-chairman of the Lombardy-Liguria regional branch of Italy’s winemakers association, Assoenologi, were among those arrested in the dawn raids.
“Our investigation enabled us to discover how the top management of the Cantina Canneto together with entrusted winemakers commercialised supposedly DOC and PGI wines that were actually counterfeited in terms of quality, quantity and origin,” the Guardia di Finanza, Italy’s tax and fraud police, said in a statement.
“It is sad to note that, just a few years since the last investigation into false DOC wines in Oltrepo Pavese, which involved around 200 people, lessons have not been learnt,” prosecutor Giorgio Reposo said during a press conference on the day of the arrests.