Don’t fake the wine, if you can’t do the time.
In France, twenty people were arrested earlier this week in connection with the production of counterfeit Bordeaux wine. Three individuals were charged with organized fraud, counterfeiting and money laundering in the operation that spanned locations across the European country.
Reports say that the group produced hundreds of thousands of fake bottles of the prized wine, with products intended to reach international markets. Large orders for the imposter Bordeaux had already been placed foreign retailers and local grocery stores.
As International Business Times reports, the counterfeit operation was uncovered during an unrelated drug investigation, when officers discovered printing equipment believed to create the labels for the faked wine bottles.
Police suspect a winemaker in the Medoc region of France to be behind the counterfeiting ring, as a statement from the Bordeaux prosecutor’s office states that they purchased lower-quality vino from other areas of Europe and labeled it as originating in Bordeaux. The wine was bottled by the counterfeit group during the night, the report states.
As the operation spanned several different areas of the country and included a large inventory of the counterfeit wine, it’s noted as a complex operation.
For consumers, counterfeit wine can be a significant — and costly! — risk. Whether purchasing a budget-friendly bottle or more prestigious vintage, fake wines are numerous and sometimes difficult to spot. Producers are responding with elaborate cork styles, label QR verification, and printing that resembles anti-counterfeiting measures of United States currency to help slow fraud in the industry.