LeBron might want to double-check any bottles of Sassicaia he has lying around.
The counterfeiting operation was run out of a warehouse near Milan. The suspects bottled lower quality wine from Sicily in place of the fine wine, and used meticulous labels and cases from Bulgaria.
“The bottles and the packaging were perfectly identical to the originals,” Dario Sopranzetti, a colonel in the financial police, says. “Even the weight of the tissue paper was the same,”
Following an investigation launched last year, a father and son have been placed under house arrest, with 11 other men being investigated for their involvement in the operation.
The investigation began after officers found a case of the fake wine on the side of the road after falling off a truck. Sopranzetti said officers intercepted telephone calls that suggested the ring was preparing 1,000 cases of wine to be shipped to South Korea.
“From the intercept, we gathered that the counterfeiters were selling a case of 2015 Sassicaia for around 500 euros,” adding that the cost of each was about 70 percent less than an authentic case. When raiding the counterfeiters’ warehouse, police found them labeling bottles as the vineyard’s 2015 vintage.
The counterfeiting ring is believed to have been producing 700 cases each month, accounting to about 40,000 euros in sales, according to CNN.
Bolgheri Sassicaia is one of the most popular luxury wines in the world. In recent years, the “Super Tuscan” has garnered adoration from the Obamas, David Beckham, and Rihanna — none of whom have hopefully been duped by counterfeits.