Investigators said the counterfeit wine originated in Sicily, while the bottles came from Turkey and the labels and wooden boxes came from Bulgaria. The operation resulted in the confiscation of 700 cases of wine for a total of 4,200 bottles. The 2010 and 2015 vintages, celebrated by Italian and international critics, were the most common among counterfeits.
“The investigation began by chance when two members of the Guardia di Finanza [financial police], came across a case of fake wine in a street in Empoli, Tuscany, which had probably fallen from a truck, ”said Giuseppe Creazzo, Attorney General of Florence, at a press conference.
“In the case, there was a note with two cell phone numbers, which sparked the investigation and led to the arrest of two people who had committed this fraud with meticulous care. Fortunately, we have managed to block the sale of this wine, one of the best known in Italy and the world, on the international market.
According to investigators, several customers, including some from China, Korea and Russia, had already ordered around 1,000 cases at about 70% less than the cost of the original.
“Unfortunately, counterfeiting of prized Tuscan food products is very common,” said Francesco Colpizzi, president of the Tuscan Wine and Agriculture Federation.
Bolgheri Sassicaia, produced by Tenuta San Guido in Tuscany, is a Bordeaux-style red wine. It is considered one of Italy’s most exclusive wines, with the 2015 vintage being hailed by Wine Spectator as the best in the world.
In 2019, the 2016 vintage was awarded the maximum of 100 points by the American wine critic Robert Parker.
Bolgheri Sassicaia originates from vineyards located near the splendid coastal landscape of the Tuscan Maremma. It is mainly produced with Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. The wine, aged in French oak barrels for 24 months and in bottle before being put on sale, has a deep ruby red color. In 2015, at a Sotheby’s auction in New York City, a 1985 Sassicaia case fetched $ 18,375 (£ 14,200).