With the support of Europol, Italian police raided a network of wine counterfeiters.
Image courtesy of: Wine News
The police raids, which took place across eight Italian provinces, searched for a ring that was selling counterfeit fine Italian wines online.
Police took action because an investigation revealed that an online auction platform was selling premium wines that were actually filled with inferior wines. The wines were sold to Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United States.
Europol said in a statement that the counterfeit wines in circulation often end up being consumed by unsuspecting customers in bars and restaurants.
According to the criminal organization busted by the police, they collected empty bottles of real wine through restaurants and filled them with cheap wine from different sources, using cheap wine purchased from the Internet or discount stores. The bottles were sealed using cork corks and counterfeit capsules that were different or similar in color to the original bottles. Finally, packaging film and fake guarantee seals are used to conceal the lack of visible security markings on the capsules.
Europol says that once they establish contact with buyers online, counterfeiters extend promotional offers, setting prices far below those normally seen on the market. 1.5-liter magnums of certain counterfeit wines often cost more than 1,000 euros per bottle.