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 break up counterfeit wine ring
Bolgheri Sassicaia red wine comes from an area on the coast of Tuscany and has become one of Italy's best known fine wines since it appeared on the market in the 1970s.
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.
"The bottles and the packaging were perfectly identical to the originals," Dario Sopranzetti, a colonel in the financial police, told reporters. "Even the weight of the tissue paper was the same," he said.
Two men, a father and son, have been put under house arrest and 11 others placed under investigation following an operation launched last year, when a fake case of the wine fell off a truck and was found on the roadside.
Italy's luxury goods industry, one of its most important business sectors, which also includes fine foods and drinks, has faced a constant battle against counterfeiting.
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