Transatlantic fraud: Wine traders guilty of mislabeling wine

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CARCASSONNE, FRANCE — A dozen wine producers and traders were found guilty of having supplied an American trader with mislabeled “Pinot Noir” wines, and six were handed a suspended prison sentence.

In a rare case pitting local producers from the southwest of France against the big U.S. trader E. & J. Gallo, the president of the criminal court in this medieval walled town said on Wednesday that “there has been fraud.”

In 2008, French customs found that during three years some 13.5 million liters, or about 3.6 million gallons, of mislabeled wine had been sold to Gallo.

The producers and traders were accused of deliberately mislabeling the wine with a more expensive variety of grape.

The ordinary wines from the region sell at some 45 euros, or $62, per 100 liters against 97 euros for Pinot Noir — well known abroad for its use in Burgundy wines and prized by American drinkers who favor single-grape wines over blended wines like Bordeaux.

Full story: Fraud in Wine Sent to U.S. From France – Reuters via