Related incidents reach into the antiquity back. In doing so it is attempted to "improve" the quality by means of unauthorized additions or by manipulations such as misnomer or blending with inferior wines to fake a false identity. In the episode the most spectacular and extensive wine counterfeits of the modern age are described:
In the 1960s, especially in Germany, Italian wines became popular and Millions of Hekotliter were introduced. Among them were cheapest products of alleged brands like Chianti (in the cheesy, wrapped garbage bottles), Lambrusco and Valpolicella who have never seen the respective growing areas. Many were with sugar and enriched with water, with bovine blood and the mucus Agar Aagar (made from algae) and the fiery shine created by the addition of gypsum. Over 200 wine counterfeiters were shown, some of them river water and the sweeten had used the brew of rotten figs or bananas. The few years before 1963 introduced wine law with the DOC system obviously had not reached yet.
At a 2010 interview with Josef Pleil, the long-time president of the Austrian Winegrowing Association, explained the background of the glycol scandal in 1985 (sharply shortened): The roots for the wine scandal are probably in the early 1970s. In order to prevent the exodus of many small farmers, each winemaker from the borderland has been approved the additional replanting of 0.5 hectares per farm. This was intended to prevent the many small farmers from entering the Viennese job market. After only five years, this resulted in a vineyard expansion of around 15,000 hectares and thus an overproduction. In the early 1980s, however, wine consumption declined throughout Europe. In Germany there was a good demand for sweet wines at that time. Now, some "resourceful specialists" tried to serve this demand by pretending to produce high-quality predicate wines from simple cheap table wines by adding diethylene glycol and offering them at the lowest prices. That worked pretty well at first.
In December 1984, a still unknown man with a German accent appeared in the agricultural-chemical Federal Institute in Wien He put a bottle of watery, syrupy liquid on the table and remarked, "That's what the Austrian wine-making scene uses . " It was diethylene glycol, which is used in antifreeze. After mass production in the 1970s and the fall in Austrian prices quality wines The state winery inspectors had long had a vague suspicion. So much Prädikatswein could not be generated in a natural way. However, searches for suspicious wine traders were regularly rejected by the court as disproportionate.
Of course there was already then analytical quality samples for wines, but the detection limit at this time was 200 mg diethylene glycol per liter of wine. But this was known in the Austrian wine counterfeit scene. In order to reduce the glycol content below the laboratory detection limit, one to ten was mixed with unadulterated wine. Due to the above-mentioned hint, the laboratory methods were refined in Austria, and now the glycol wine was used by Gas chromatography method as early as 5 mg / l as distorted recognizable. As this word spread in the counterfeiting scene, sewage treatment plants collapsed because the glycolic wine was dumped into the channel in extreme quantities that are not yet known to date, just to avoid being convicted or caught. Hundreds of thousands of hectoliters of wine had to be burned to become industrial alcohol.
The majority of vintners produced Lower Austria and Burgenland Some of them were also advised by a chemist. The diethylene glycol was added to make the wine more " body and Lieblichkei To give t candy or candy, which at that time especially of consumers in Germany was estimated. By means of glycol not only became more common table wine processed to Prädikatswein, but also thousands of hectoliters Art wine generated . These liquids looked and tasted like wine, but had never come into contact with grapes or wine. It was just water with ua tartaric acid. malic acid, Potash, glycerin, Staghorn salt and diethylene glycol mixed. The remedy is not safe. The limit is 16 g / l, which can even be deadly in sensitive people. This lot was in a Burgenland Eiswein demonstrated. Due to the usually low concentration but there was hardly any health damage. The most common side effects were nausea and kidney problems. There were no seriously ill or even dead.
The stone finally got rolling, as a winemaker wanted to make conspicuously large amounts of antifreeze tax, even though he had only a small tractor. At the beginning of April 1985, the targeted controls started. Immediately at the first verified operation in Apetlon, diethylene glycol was detected in 34 out of 38 samples taken, and a second cellar in Podersdorf showed a similar picture. Finally, on April 23, 1985, the Department of Agriculture alarmed and warned against the glycolic wines. A total of 55 detectives conducted 850 house searches at winemakers, traders and chemical companies. In July 1985 and February 1986, a total of 80 suspects were arrested. Around 23 million liters of wine were confiscated, the total amount of counterfeit wines could never be clarified. According to the investigations, since the year 1976 at least 340 tons of diethylene glycol have been added to the wines.
The scandal finally spread beyond the Austrian borders, because the majority of the adulterated wines were delivered to Germany, where they were "further treated" part. From large German wine bottlers from the state Rheinland-Pfalz German wine was illegally falsified with Austrian glycol. Especially the company Pieroth came here in the sights of the investigating authorities. The company was denied to have known about the machinations. The negative climax came through sensational reports in West German newspapers. The Bild newspaper from July 12, 1985 headlined the headline "frost protection wine at Grandma's birthday - 11 poisoned" . As a result, a media campaign broke out against Austrian and Burgenland wines, which was finally reflected throughout Europe and overseas. Even the "New York Times" brought the scandal on the front page. The BATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) had all wines from Austria withdrawn from circulation.
After lengthy investigations, there were 325 complaints, 52 fines for food or wine offenses, and 21 commercial fraud charges. The criminal prosecutions that followed resulted in the fact that the first "applications" in Austria probably had already taken place on a smaller scale as of the 1976 vintage. To a greater extent, especially the vintages from 1980 to 1984 were affected, because, in particular, the participating wine merchants were "always greedy" according to testimonies. It was also done with great criminal energy and sophistication. The tank trucks for export had been manipulated so that the tap provided for taking samples resulted in a small container of about 200 liters containing unadulterated wine. During the years of trial, some of those convicted received up to eight years in prison. One of them committed suicide. Large wine merchants went bankrupt, even if they were not directly involved and large wine producers had to file for bankruptcy.
The image damage was considerable and brought the Austrian wine industry to the brink of ruin. In the United States prevented the FBI that the ÖVP politician Alois Mock (1934-2017) during a visit to the President Ronald Reagan (1911-2004) could present Austrian wine as a gift. Austria's wine exports fell overnight by 95%. The end of 1986 was the ÖWM (Austria Wine Marketing) was founded to help alleviate the consequences of the scandal through marketing measures. The incident, however, ultimately caused something very positive. Already at the end of August 1985 the Nationalrat decided the new wine law, which was described as the "strictest wine law in the world". Among other things, each bottle had to be one banderole be equipped (was 2008 by round label on shutter replaced) to prevent abuse.
It came in the 1970s Italy to a wine boom. Especially for the masses yield suitable red wine variety Barbera were in huge quantities mass wines hergstellt. In the years 1985 and 1986, the so-called "methanol scandal" became public, of which many barbera wines were affected due to the large quantities. Among others were the DOC wines Barbera d'Asti. Barbera del Monferrato and Piemonte del Barbera underneath. The wines became the cheap and extremely poisonous alcohol methanol added to the alcohol content to increase. From a certain amount, this leads to blindness and in extreme cases to death. There were hundreds of sick and eight dead. The main supplier of this estate was a wholesaler from Manduria near Taranto in Apulia, As a result, these wines were almost unsalable and the stocks of the variety were almost halved.
Fakes of Bordeaux wines often come from China, It is estimated that around nine times more high-quality Bordeaux wine is on the market there than France ever produces. A hotel in the southern metropolis of Guangzhou sold 40,000 bottles of Château Lafit-Rothschild every year. But the winery only delivers around 50,000 bottles to all of China every year. Around 300,000 bottles are to be marketed there annually. This means that more than eight out of ten bottles are fake. The procedure is relatively simple. A cheap wine from the Bordeaux is filled into a bottle similar to the Châteu Lafite-Rothschild and closed with a cork of a large vintage provided with the Lafite brand. Lastly, a fake label is applied, which is easy to make using today's means (scanning the original and changing the vintage). Possibly. Original fakes are used, because even with smaller quantities, the business is rewarding.
In early 2002, it was revealed that in Hong Kong medium-price red wines from Bordeaux with fake labels and capsules in one Château Lafite-Rothschild 1982 were transformed, a 100 points rated and extremely expensive Wine of the century, The bottles were worth about 25 € and then achieved as "Chateau Lafite-Rothschild 1982" a price up to 25 times - ie by bottle € 625. The business is in decline, however, because the government launched a campaign against corruption, waste and luxury Has. President Xi Jinping wants to give his Communist Party back some credibility.
A second scandal called "Brunellopoli" or the Anglo-American press as "Brunellogate" (derived from "Watergate") existed in 2008. Some companies, including the well-known ones Antinori, Argiano, Banfi and Frescobaldi, were suspected of food counterfeiting. The prosecution seized, and the audience effective at the wine fair Vinitaly, several million bottles of DOCG Brunello di Montalcino of the year 2003. The concrete reproach was, instead of the exclusively permitted variety Brunello ( Sangiovese clone ) also Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon from the south.
In May 2008, the relevant US import authority decided to impose an import ban on the Brunello. Finally, this also led to a change in the production regulations. Many winemakers, including Angelo Gaja, proposed to relax the rules and not have to make the wine from 100% Brunello-Sangiovese, in order to make this more competitive. Ultimately, however, it remained with the strict rule. The seized 6.5 million l Brunello and 0.7 million l Rosso di Montalcino had to be as DOC or IGT be marketed. Hardly any wine forgery could be detected and only a few people were convicted.
In the South Moravian Zlin around 500 were raided Vodka-. Rum- and fruits fire Bottles with fake brand labels ensured. In the samples found a high methanol content was detected. In the following years, there were numerous deaths, which is assumed to be a dark figure. In total, it is estimated that up to 50 people died and 50 more people suffered serious health problems.
In July 2019 were by the police in the regions Abruzzo. Apukien. Campania and Lazio altogether 62 wineries and apartments on suspicion of wine forgery. Most enrichment and illegal oenological Searching techniques. The Public Prosecutor ordered the seizure of four wine companies and 30 million liters of allegedly tainted wine. The allegations:
Cheap spanish Wine was called Italian DOC and IGT Quality Sold at dumping prices. must became illegal with sugar and other illegal additions enriched to increase the production volume. Highly flawed wine should also with illegal cellar techniques fined have been. In addition, an employee of the Central Italian Food Inspection and Anti-Fraud Unit was accused of informing the companies concerned about the Authority's internal affairs and upcoming controls.
Two cases with extensive wine counterfeits of old vintages from Bordeaux and Burgundy are described in their own keywords. The German wine merit collector Hardy Rodenstock (1941-2018) could never be detected a fraudulent intention. This was very well with the Indonesian wine merchant Rudy Kurniawan the case sentenced to 10 years in prison for fraud. See general information with historical background information and wine laws below wine adulteration,
Source Glykolskandal: The wine scandal, Walter Brüders, Verlag Denkmayr, ISBN 3901838457
Pleil interview: Wiener Zeitung 19.7.2010