Subscriber login Close [x]
remember me
You are not logged in.

Italian officials block shipment of Brunello di Montalcino wines

Published:  23 July, 2008

Italian officials have blocked the shipment of Brunello di Montalcino's wines.

The magistrate of Siena, an appointed judicial authority, has questioned the controls exercised by the consortium of Brunello di Montalcino, which governs the stipulations of how the wine is made in both the vineyard and the cellar.

Authorities are scanning thousands of documents, including winemaker notes, harvest and bottling records, Consorzio registrations and DOCG stamps.

If the slightest discrepancy is found, even if subject to interpretation and explanation, the existing stocks of the 2003 vintage Brunello, the year in question, will be sequestered from distribution, the company said in a statement.

Stocks already on store shelves and restaurant cellars will not be affected.

"The situation has quickly become political and threatens the commerce of innumerable small businesses and the pleasure of millions of consumers around the world," Marc Goodrich, chief operating officer of Banfi Vintners, a US importer of the wines, said.

"The promise of Brunello to the consumer remains valid and unquestioned, but has been caught in crossfire between warring factions in what amounts to a political disgrace."

Goodrich claims the majority of Brunello producers are likely to come under scrutiny. This could lead to the sale of the 2003 vintage suspended, potentially for several months if not longer.

"We will not know what really happened until all the political dust settles and the authorities retreat," he said. "But in the meantime, they have put at risk the commercial, social and governmental reputation of all Italy."