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That pricey Burgundy may be just a cheap wine

on 19/06/12 at 11:52 am


The detention of four executives of a major Burgundy producer has created turmoil in France’s wine industry.

Accusations of wine fraud, which have been swirling around the international trade in rare vintages, have now struck home at the source of some of the world’s most prized bottles, the cellars of Burgundy.

The Burgundy wine industry has been in an uproar since news emerged last week that four executives of one of the largest wine producers in the region, Laboure-Roi, had been detained on suspicion of falsely labeling hundreds of thousands of bottles of wine.

The accusations follow closely on a separate case in which a grand jury in New York last month charged an Indonesian wine collector, Rudy Kurniawan, with multiple counts of fraud in what prosecutors described as a multimillion-dollar scheme to sell wines falsely labeled under prestigious names like Chateau Petrus and Domaine de la Romanee-Conti.

While the case against Kurniawan centers on what appear to be old, trophy bottles that sometimes change hands for tens of thousands of dollars, the suspected fraud at Laboure-Roi involves more recent, more modest wines. Still, it is perhaps more insidious, because it involves vastly greater volumes of wine and because it originated in Burgundy itself, rather than in a far-off counterfeiter’s workshop.