Reuters: Police have seized hundreds of thousands of euros worth of fake champagne in a workshop near Padua, northern Italy, with counterfeiters looking to pass off sparkling wine as Moet & Chandon.
Eight people face charges but no one has been taken into custody, police said, after they found 9,200 bottles of prosecco and a machine used to make the metallic wrappers that cover the top of the bottles.
As well as the already-labelled bottles, which would have fetched about 350,000 euros ($380,000), police said in a statement they found a further 40,000 labels which, if used, could have taken the illicit earnings to more than 1.8 million.
This is story worth mentioning for obvious reasons. Fake wines are certainly not a new concept, especially among premium producers and brands. Although we’ve heard a lot about fake bluechip wines in the auction houses (anyone who hasn’t should lock themselves into the book ‘Billionaires Vinegar’ for a day or so as an intro), mass produced fake champagne is not so well discussed but probably a lot more lucrative.
A matter of taste?
From a “consumer” point of view, we might say that it must be obvious to tell that it is fake but that is probably not true. Many non-experts really do not know the difference between prosecco and champagne. And many prosecco’s are not that bad at all. Different yes, but still not bad. They make great party wines.
Big numbers, small horde
9200 bottles may sound like a lot but in reality, it’s a tiny amount. Unless of course there are more “factories” for this production in other places. Who knows? Maybe we need to put our taste buds on high alert and fizz lovers should do some comparative blind tasting at home to check they can spot a fake at parties. Perhaps we can do a film on that?