Millions of bottles of low-end wine sold as great Bordeaux

The trial of five wine carriers and traders opened this Thursday, October 27, 2022 before the Bordeaux Criminal Court, in Gironde. They are accused of passing off low-end Spanish wine for Bordeaux grands crus.

It is a high-flying scam of which five people from Gironde and Charente are suspected. Wine merchants and transporters, they are judged from this Thursday, October 27, 2022 for having sold the equivalent of millions of bottles of wine presented as Bordeaux wines when they were poor quality Spanish products, reports the France Bleu website.

The alleged scammers did not just change the nationality and origin of the wines they were selling. They would indeed have gone so far as to market certain low-end wines under very prestigious wine labels. According to the sources of our colleagues, fake Saint-Émilion and fake Pomerol were thus sold to their victims. In total, 35,000 liters of wine would have been sold, the equivalent of 4.6 million bottles.

A well-functioning system

To pull off such a scam, the defendants allegedly set up a three-band system. For the first stage, a renowned Girondin merchant would have ordered the wine in Spain: whole cisterns. These, transported by a Charente company, would then have been delivered to Bordeaux. Finally, a third company falsified the papers so that the wine became French. The false labeling of grands crus would have taken place via a parallel network.

The customs, very involved in the investigation alongside the police, demanded penalties amounting to four million euros, the equivalent of the amount of the counterfeit goods. None of the defendants or their counsel wished to speak. With the exception of the carrier’s lawyer who did not mince words: “My client is more than the big pigeon since he sold Spanish wine and it is the person to whom he sold it who transformed this Spanish wine into French wine. If you go into a hardware store and you buy a hammer to go and smash someone’s head, the hardware store that sells you the hammer, he doesn’t know what you’re going to do with it!” A sense of the formula that will be good helpful to his clients in court.

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