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WineCountry.it - Tuscany Region Italy

Tuscany:
Articles

Frescobaldi Investigated for Fraud
Staff Writer - April 26, 2005

FrescobaldiHalf a million liters of red wine from two Frescobaldi properties have been confiscated and 12 members of the company, including Leonardo, Lamberto and Vittorio Frescobaldi, are investigated under the article 515 of the Italian penal code, or commercial fraud.

The prestigious Florentine firm, which recently celebrated its 700th anniversary, is suspected of having produced DOCG, DOC and IGT wines with grapes produced in areas outside the strictly controlled denominations.

  Marchesi Frescobaldi
  Group photo of the Marchesi Frescobaldi family
   

The investigation is currently focused on just two of the family's properties, Castiglione in Val di Pesa and the bottling facility near Pontassieve, where wines from the company's various properties are bottled and stored. The Italian daily newspaper Il Giornale reported that fraud police was alerted after a routine check of the company's books allegedly revealed the existence of  illegal 'parallel accounting'.

The paper says investigators concluded the the amount of Tuscan grapes declared was increased on paper when in reality the amount was lower. In addition, only a portion of the amount of grapes received from Apulia - outside the denomination - seems to have been declared while the actual amount received was higher.

Authorities carried out simultaneous searches in the southern regions of Italy, where prosecutors believe Frescobaldi bought the grapes that were shipped to Tuscany and crushed as Tuscan grown grapes. In addition to documents, investigators have confiscated bottled wine from undisclosed locations as well. The wine will be analyzed to determine their origin and grape variety.

Export manager Stefano Benini told the online british magazine decanter.com that the investigation was "to verify that the denomination of the wines has been properly applied to the products," and stressed that none of the other Frescobaldi wineries was being investigated.

"This kind of investigation is routine in the wine business. We are confident that we can clear any issue and that this should not impact on our business," said Benini.

"Of course we buy grapes from outside the denomination, but only to bottle as table wine or to sell in bulk at the estates," said the company president, Vittorio Frescobaldi.

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