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Italian police break up counterfeit wine ring

October 15, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

Italian police have broken up a ring producing counterfeit Sassicaia wine, a variety considered among the finest in the world that sells for hundreds of euros a bottle, authorities said Wednesday.

Italian police have broken up a ring producing counterfeit Sassicaia wine, a variety considered among the finest in the world that sells for hundreds of euros a bottle, authorities said Wednesday.

Officials from the Guardia di Finanza said the sophisticated counterfeit operation bottled inferior wine from Sicily in a warehouse near Milan, with meticulously reproduced labeling and cases that came from Bulgaria.

In a 2018 report, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) estimated counterfeiting cost Italian food and drinks makers 4. 2 billion euros in lost sales alone.

When police raided the warehouse, the counterfeiters were labeling cases under the rare 2015 vintage, dubbed the best wine in the world by Wine Spectator, a US trade publication which runs a closely watched annual ranking.

Sopranzetti said telephone intercepts suggested they were preparing 1,000 cases, which he said can sell for between 1,800-2,400 euros each, for South Korea.

"From the intercept, we gathered that the counterfeiters were selling a case of 2015 Sassicaia for around 500 euros, or about 70% less than the original," he said.

He said the group had apparently been turning out 700 cases a month, generating around 400,000 euros, but it was still unclear how long the operation had been underway.

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