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Tuscan wine 'illegally blended'

Published:  17 December, 2009

Italian wine producers face a dent to their reputation and an undermining of their appellation system after authorities have discovered that 10m litres of Tuscan wine may have been illegally blended.

Reports in the Siena edition of La Nazione and Corriere della Sera stated that 17 people and 42 companies are currently under investigation for falsifying public documents with the intent to commit fraud and blending wines of an inferior quality.

The scandal comes on the back the inquiry into illegal blending in Brunello di Montalcino in March 2008, although none of the producers were charged.

Managing director of GIV, Emilio Pedron said: "These new incidents are further proof of the structural and normative difficulties of the Italian, and more specifically Tuscan, wine sector.

He added: "The present economic climate makes things much more difficult and some producers, the more unfortunate and less scrupulous, try to improve their business through irregular methods.

Raffaella Guidi Federzoni, export manager from Fattoria dei Barbi, underplayes the story and thinks this is another case of Italian media creating a sensation abroad: "This type of scare is cyclical. I don't want to diminish the news and everyone of course will want to know the truth. But I'm confident in the results of the investigation and sceptical about the amplification."

Doug Wregg director of sales and marketing from Les Caves de Pyrene said: "This comes around like chestnuts at Christmas. It devalues the whole notion of appellation. It's not good if inferior grapes are discovered as it means the blurrings of the appellation. This kind of press doesn't do Italy any favours.

The areas under investigation include Chianti DOCG, Toscana IGT Brunello di Montalcino and Rosso di Montalcino.