Twelve French wine industry figures were convicted Wednesday of selling 18 million bottles (13.5 million liters) of falsely labeled wine to US wine powerhouse E&J Gallo at an inflated price. The wine was ultimately sold under E&J's ubiquitous "Red Bicyclette" Pinot Noir label.
The convicted were sentenced by a French judge, who gave them suspended jail sentences and fines ranging from 3,000 to 18,000 euros apiece. They had made seven million euros from their massive fraud [...] After a year-long judicial investigation, the defendants were accused of substituting wine made from less expensive local grape varieties for the Pinot Noir, which is popular on the American market.
In handing down the sentences, the French judge said, "the scale of the fraud caused severe damage for the wines of the Languedoc for which the United States is an important outlet."
However, a lawyer for two of the defendants argued that there was no harm, since "not a single American consumer complained."
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Adding insult to injury
Posted by Matt Christie at 10:06 AM