Owner of Bordeaux château arrested in huge fake Bordeaux supermarket fraud
The owner of a château in Bordeaux, who is also a wine merchant, has been arrested for his alleged role as the head of a gang that distributed thousands of litres of cheap wine to supermarkets that was masquerading as mid-range Bordeaux.
French police have made more than 20 arrests pertaining to the large-scale scam that involved wine sold to supermarket buyers in France and other countries. Three of those arrested have been charged with organised fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
Bordeaux’s state prosecutor, Frédérique Porterie, said that the head of the network was the owner of a Bordeaux château and also a wine merchant. His identity had not been made public at the time of writing.
Porterie explained how the gang had bought cheap wine from other French regions and countries including Spain, before bottling it at a secret location under the cover of darkness and adding self-printed Bordeaux châteaux labels.
From there, the fake Bordeaux were distributed through intermediaries that Porterie said included businesses and even pensioners.
The wines were supplied to supermarket buyers by the crateload under the guise of the bottles being mid-range plonk from Médoc in Bordeaux that was being offered at discounted prices.
“At the end of the chain, customers thought they were acquiring château-bottled Bordeaux whose names and labels inspired confidence at sometimes knock-down prices when they were in fact buying bottom-of-the-range wines or those coming from areas quite a long way from Bordeaux,” Porterie said.
Police first learned of the scam when the discovered equipment for printing wine labels during a drugs raid.