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Tuscan wine scandal

Published:  23 July, 2008

Two men are under arrest and 13 people are under investigation by Italy's Guardia di Finanza (fiscal police), together with police of the fraud squad called out by Siena's district attorney in yet another alleged sofisticazione (wine adulteration) involving fake Tuscan classics.

Producer Piero Conticelli is said to have been selling in bulk, as Chianti Classico, a wine made in violation of production norms. Several big names, among them Ruffino, are included in the list of unwitting purchasers' of the product, and the wineries of these are also being checked for the presence of illegal wine.

According to Adolfo Folonari, managing director of Ruffino, the wine being checked represents all the production [of Chianti] of years 2001-04, temporarily frozen in our cellars at Pontassieve. However,' he added, the parcels purchased from the producer under investigation - in an entirely regular manner, it should be emphasized - represent only a small proportion of the totality of wine currently stocked in our cellars.'

Folonari stressed that Ruffino is fully collaborating with the authorities so as to unblock the situation as quickly as possible.'