Landmark case against export of allegedly fraudulent New Zealand wine

For the first time, a winery is being prosecuted under the 2003 Wine Act as it appears that thousands of bottles of New Zealand sauvignon blanc and pinot noir may have been fraudulently exported.

For the first time, a winery is being prosecuted under the 2003 Wine Act as it appears that thousands of bottles of New Zealand sauvignon blanc and pinot noir may have been fraudulently exported.

The country’s first significant case of wine fraud has been brought by the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) against Southern Boundary Wines alleging that the winery gave misleading information about vintage, variety and origin of wines produced under its own brand and others.

“The allegations are very concerning to us, as they will be to all New Zealand wine producers and consumers,” said Jeffrey Clarke, New Zealand Winegrowers’ acting chief executive.

“It is critical that consumers have confidence when they buy a New Zealand wine that the label is accurate and trustworthy. And this case threatens that.”

In November, three directors of Southern Boundary Wines will face a total of more than 150 charges relating to allegedly fraudulent wine which was exported to the UK, Australia, Japan, Fiji and Thailand.

While there were no health and safety fears with the allegedly fraudulent bottles, with exports of one of New Zealand’s best known wine brands valued at NZ$1.6m a year, it is a real blow to the country’s wine industry as customers start to doubt the integrity and value of the product.

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Posted by: Authenticate 04/10/2017