Sunday, August 20, 2006

More Reasons to Whine

Last week the Wall Street Journal published an in-depth article on the problem of fake wine. We've discussed this persistent problem previously (for example fake Canadian Icewine). What's extraordinary is how little manufacturers have done to protect their products. There are no security features - and all the discernable characteristics (label, bottle, foil capsule) are easy to counterfeit.

"Counterfeiting is always on the rise," says Giuseppe Fugaro, head of the Ministry of Agriculture's antifraud unit in Naples. Last month, he pulled 15,000 bottles of fake Falanghina, an appellation of white wine produced around Naples, from Italian store shelves. In 2005, he rounded up more than 6.6 million bottles of bogus Falanghina in Italy.”

“In Italy, the fakes that have turned up in recent years have forced producers of top appellations such as Chianti Classico to rack up more than $1 million in legal fees fighting fraud at home and abroad.”

“Winemakers acknowledge that no vineyard is safe. French winemaker Baron Philippe de Rothschild SA says its growth in China came to a halt a decade ago because of counterfeiters there.”

Some manufacturers are talking about embedding RF devices behind the label ... not that this is much help to the average quaffer, of course.