Wine fraud is nothing new. In fact, it’s been around long enough that it’s generally considered to be one of the motivating factors for the inclusion of geographical distinctions on French wine labels--unscrupulous shippers and merchants trying to take advantage of the prestige of certain place-names by passing off lesser wine as something better has always, it seems, been a problem.
But now, with advances in technology, producers, negociants, and merchants have increasingly effective ways to fight back and ensure that the juice in the bottle is actually what the label claims it to be.
Yesterday, Decanter.com reported that “Bordeaux first growth Chateau Margaux will incorporate an anti-fraud seal on all bottles leaving the chateau from this week. The strip - known as a Prooftag - runs between the capsule and the bottle, and has a reference number and a unique pattern, both of which can be tracked on Chateau Margaux’s website.”
The articles continues, “This move comes in addition to existing anti-fraud measures employed by the estate, such as a laser-etched bottle, a vintage-specific bottle mould, individually numbered and bar coded bottles and cases, and special ink used on the labels and foil.”
Of course, this doesn’t do much to help collectors verify older bottles they’re considering for purchase with confidence beyond the assessment of an expert, but it’s a step in the right direction, especially when you purchase new bottles from a trusted retailer.
For further reading on wine fraud, check out this article from a 2009 issue of Wine Spectator.