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Old 04-07-2008, 12:32 PM   #1
Edward Hamilton
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Default Brunello seized in Italian wine probe

Brunello seized in Italian wine probe
Fri Apr 4, 2:37 AM ET
Source: AP
An executive for a prominent Tuscan wine producer said authorities confiscated some 600,000 bottles of his company's 2003 Brunello di Montalcino, alleging too many bottles were produced for it to be entirely authentic.
Enrico Viglierchio, an executive at Castello Banfi vintners, told reporters at an international wine fair in Verona on Thursday that magistrates based in Siena, Tuscany, were leading an investigation into several winemakers.
Viglierchio was confirming a report in Tuscan newspaper Corriere Fiorentino, which said police had seized wine produced by Castello Banfi and three other vintners of well-known wine.
The paper said investigators suspect the Brunello might have been cut with other grape varieties, such as Sauvignon grapes.
"It seems we produced more" than the vintner could have produced based on the calculation of acreage dedicated to grapes for Brunello, Viglierchio said in remarks carried by Italian state TV.
The newspaper reported that Siena investigators believe commercial fraud may have been committed. It reported that investigators studied photographs of the vineyards and calculated that the acreage dedicated to the production of Brunello could not have yielded as many bottles as were produced without the wine being likely "cut" with another variety of grape.
Italian news agency Apcom reported that hundreds of thousands of bottles of 2003 Brunello di Montalcino from other winemakers were also seized.
"I am upset by the methods used in this probe," the news agency quoted Viglierchio as saying. "They acted on the basis of clues and data which must be carefully checked out."
Italian news reports said authorities had also ordered the seizure of some vineyards.
An Italian agricultural lobby group, Confagricoltura, urged the magistrates to work quickly to reassure consumers and let vintners go about their work.
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