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Published:  23 July, 2008

By Jim Budd

The Palermo branch of the L'Ispettorato Centrale Repressione Frodi (ICRF) recently raided offices in the suburbs of the city and seized documents and bills of transport for 59,960hl (the equivalent of 7.5 million bottles) of table wine alleged to be Sicilian IGT Pinot Grigio and Pinot Bianco. The documents show the wine going to wineries in the Veneto region, where the ICRF believed it would be transformed into DOC Pinot Grigio. This latest fraud follows the seizure in November 2003 of 2,000hl of false DOC Pinot Grigio delle Venezie worth e381,420 by the ICRF in conjunction with the Procurator of Tolmezzo, a city in the province of Udine close to the Austrian border. The investigators have been unable to establish the origin of this counterfeit Pinot Grigio as the documentation was issued by a non-existent company. In a statement issued on 12 January, Gianni Alemanno, Italian minister of agriculture and forestry, promised to intensify controls on wine in order to safeguard producers and to guarantee to the consumer that the wine in the bottle actually matches the claims on the label.