Bad Wine in Tuscany

There is a scandal rustling the vines lining the charming vineyards of Tuscany -and what is a mere breeze at present may become a storm once more people discover that around 10 million litres of Tuscan wine have been adulterated.

Wines which have been adulterated are the Chianti, Toscana IGT, Brunello di Montalcino, and Rosso di Montalcino varieties.

In other words, Italian wine customers are not getting what they pay for.  The net result is that the image of Italian wine the world over will be damaged – perhaps irreparably.  Sales will fall.

What a huge shame.

Short Term Tuscans

Some Tuscan wine producers were thinking about lining their pockets in the short term.  They did not give a damn about the potential consequences to the wine industry in Italy which would result from the discovery of their sharp business practices.

Image of Italian Wine Damaged

Image of Italian Wine Damaged

Honest Italian wine producers from other Italian regions will not be at all happy with their counterparts in Tuscany.

Eric Asimov of ‘The Pour’, the New York Times wine column, has reported on the situation – and in his More Accusations of Fraud in Italy article, he gives the impression that he does not expect Italy will do enough to extricate itself from the mess.

Another noted wine expert, Italian American Alfonso Cevola of the wine blog On the Wine Trail thinks the situation is a mess.  Indeed, it was via Cevola’s informative tweets on Twitter that I heard about this disastrous situation.

Do Buy Italy’s Wines!

Before you go ‘Right, I’m not buying any more Italian wine’ – stop and think.  Not all Italian wine comes from Tuscany, and not all of Tuscany’s wine producers have been trying to pull a fast one on their customers either.

Try Italian wines from other regions

Use this as a good excuse to try Italian wines from other regions – Sicily and Puglia/Apulia, for example, especially if you like a full bodied wines.

Italian wine is very good – there really should be no need to resort to skulduggery to sell a few more bottles – better, more coordinated, marketing would achieve the same effect and over a longer and more productive term too.

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  1. riccardo says

    Hi Alex,

    very sad to renounce at a glass of wine while eating. Unfortunately, I have already realized wine bought in supermarkets is mainly adulterad. The result is often a headache after drinking.I think they put something chemical to preserve the taste
    during transportation

    Personally, every 3/4 month I use to go to my favourite wine producer in Castelnuovo don Bosco and buy his wine. After that I put it directly in bottle of 1 lt and use ryciclable plastic stoppers so I take even care of the enviroment as I do not produce any waste.It’s easy and you do not need any particular machinery

    Of course I understand not everybody has the possibility to do this but I strongly suggest
    people living in Italy or close to a wine producing area to buy a 25 lt plastic tank.
    2 or three times a Year spend a sunday outdoors. Buy wine from local producers and botlle it’s easy, it’s healthy and it’s smart. Ciao

    • says

      Yes, you pay supermarket prices and you cannot really expect to get the best – you get what you pay for.

      What you, and, as you suspect, many other Italians do in going to a wine producer and buying huge quantities of wine is an excellent idea -and the quality from the wine I have tasted is very high. I do know people here in Italy who buy grapes and then make their own wine – again the results are spectacular.

      This is something that has been going on in Italy for years, and, possibly in France and other wine growing countries (I’ve also noticed a US company which buys in grapes from France and then groups of people get together and make their own wines – excellent idea).

      It would be great to export this part of Italian culture around the world -climate permitting, of course.

      Some of the Italian artisan wine I’ve tried has been incredibly good – just so drinkable – and, as you say, no headache.

      Alas those outside of Italy may not have local producers from which to buy good wines from.

      People will just have to come to Italy and drink the stuff here!



  2. says

    Why were you so cagey about what exactly was done to the wines? Surely they know?

    When the DOP and DOC and IGP people play fast and loose with rgw rules, they are the ones who have the most to lose. I shall be very surprised if the honest members of the consorzi don’t come down hard on the sinners. Those cost afortune to achieve and are worth billions.

    • says

      Hi Judith,

      I’ll add the info on what was done – but it was mentioned in the other articles I linked to. Basically it was nothing poisonous such as anti-freeze – merely fiddling with the blends. In other words, some wineries were having a go at passing cheap wine as more expensive stuff. Very naughty – but not health threatening from what I’ve understood.

      “I shall be very surprised if the honest members of the consorzi don’t come down hard on the sinners. Those cost a fortune to achieve and are worth billions.” – I hope you are right, but the NYT wine expert did not sound too confident.

      The potential damage is frightening to think about – and most people will not understand that only one area has been affected – buyers may simply stop buying Italian wines – such a same. Not enough people will see a post like this which might help some people understand the situation at little better.

      Oh, and Merry Christmas to you and Yours, and a Happy New Year too!

      Kind regards,


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