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5 Signs You're Sipping on Counterfeit Wine Cheat Sheet by

5 Signs You're Sipping on Counterfeit Wine
wine     signs     counterfeit     fake     fraud     cork


Counte­rfeit wine is becoming the toast of the fraudulent town. As a recent lawsuit reported by Wine Spectator shows, damages can skyrocket into the millions.

If you're a business owner in the food or beverage industry, you'll want to do your due diligence to make sure you're getting what you paid for.

An insider's guide to counte­rfe­iting wine featured in Busine­ssweek gives a rundown of the collec­tible scam. Here's what to watch out for when it comes to five types of counte­rfeit wine

1. Relabeled bottles

Look at the cork. The simplest tactic used to counte­rfeit wine is to slap the label of a fine wine onto another, simila­r-l­ooking bottle. Slightly more sophis­ticated counte­rfe­iters will use a bottle from the same vineyard but of a less-a­ccl­aimed vintage. Fortun­ately, one look at the name and year on the cork, and the counte­rfeit curtain lifts.

2. Recycled bottles

Know the taste. Some vino con artists use authentic, correctly labeled bottles and refill them with lower-­quality wine. In some cases of wine fraud, a recorking machine is used, which makes evidence of tampering tough to spot. To combat this, know the taste of the fine wines you order for your business. Convincing substi­tutes can be costly for frauds­ters, so you'll likely be able to spot the taste differ­ence.

3. "­Reverse fraud"

Know the bottle. This is a sneaky method used online that is relatively rare. A reverse fraud happens when a buyer orders an authentic bottle of a fine wine online but then, upon arrival, tells the seller to void the sale because the buyer suspects it's fake. The buyer then keeps the fine wine and returns a counte­rfeit bottle of wine.

4. Blended wines

Research the seller. To make the deception more palatable, counte­rfe­iters will often try to throw off a connoi­sseur's fine-tuned taste buds by adding a splash of a high-end bottle of wine. It can make the counte­rfeit juice taste quite a bit like the original. When the taste is really close, you should look into the production and distri­bution chain.

Counte­rfeit Wine

5. Sweet water

Trust your sweet tooth. The Wine Institute in California allows winemakers to add a certain amount of water to wines. Amusingly, a code word for the water is "­Jesus units,­" referring to the Biblical story in which Jesus turned water into wine. Fraudsters adulterate this practice by diluting wine with sugar water. If it tastes sweeter than it should, that should raise a red tannin flag


Italian manufa­cturer, Brentapack has created the ‘IDCORK’ system that they claim will allow users to access details of a wine’s history via an app (using corks imprinted with individual codes), which is designed to “guarantee the authen­ticity of the wine”.

Brentapack spokes­woman, Anna Michelazzo said “The compos­ition of a cork is like a finger­print, the natural holes within it, the little cracks, make it unique – a one-off.” Brentapack CEO, Gianna Taglia­petra, claims “In a few seconds and with a few clicks, you will be able to ensure that the contents of the bottle are not an imitation”

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