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May 30, 2022 View:

Italian police nab a wine counterfeiting ring

Recently, Italian police caught a wine counterfeiting ring in a warehouse near Milan and arrested two people on the spot, while 11 others are under investigation.

Photo courtesy of: Le Wine Guest

It is reported that the group"s main counterfeit target is the famous Italian wine Sassicaia, and the counterfeit is mainly a series of different vintages of Sassicaia between 2010 and 2015. When police raided the gang's warehouse, the counterfeiters were labeling the 2015 vintage and had finished packaging 41 cases of the wine for sale.

Produced on the Tuscan coast, Sisigia has become one of Italy's most famous boutique wines since it was launched in the 1970s and is considered one of the best in the world, selling for hundreds of euros per bottle.

The Xishijaya counterfeiting gang has a clear division of labor, two counterfeiters are father and son, responsible for bottling, labeling and assembly work, and there are also people who are specifically responsible for market placement.

The counterfeiters purchased materials from countries around the world to make the counterfeit. The wine in the bottle came from Sicily, the empty bottle from Turkey, and the label, cap, wooden box and wrapping paper from Bulgaria, which were then sold around the world.

According to the investigation report, several customers, including Koreans, Chinese and Russians, have placed orders for 1,000 units. Phone intercepts conducted by Italian police against the counterfeiting ring revealed that the group was preparing 1,000 cases of fake wine for South Korea, which could be sold for 1,800 to 2,400 euros (about Rmb 14,206 to Rmb 18,941) per case. The counterfeiters were selling a case of 2015 Sassicaia for about 500 euros (about Rmb3,946), 70 percent less than the original price.

The organization processes about 700 orders totaling 4,200 bottles per month, with an estimated illegal income of about 400,000 euros, and it is unclear how long the counterfeiting operation has been going on.

According to the staff of the Italian financial police (Guardia di Finanza), the group's counterfeiting techniques are very high, the bottle and packaging are exactly the same as the original, even the weight of the wrapping paper is the same.

By the end of September, police had seized 80,000 counterfeit products in the province of Milan, including wine labels, bottles, caps, wooden cases, etc. These materials could have been used to forge 1,100 cases of a total of 6,600 bottles of Sassicaia 2015. if the wine were real, the market value would be close to 2 million euros.