Ten million bottles of Spanish rosé were sold as French wine over the last three years, reported an official investigation quoted by Le Parisien this Monday. “Rosé amateurs beware,” notified the French daily. “You can face a nasty surprise at happy hour.”
The DGCCRF, the French agency in charge of fraud control which led the investigation in 2016-2017, claimed that 70,000 hectoliters of rosé — 1.85 million gallons — had been mislabeled. “Frenchification” of Spanish wine was observed in 22% of the controlled institutions, expanding to producers, distributors, bars, restaurants and hotels.
The bottles in question portrayed the French flag and had misleading phrases like “Bottled in France” or even “Produced in France.” The phrase “Made in Spain” was written on the back of some bottles, but in small and illegible print. Criminal procedures were opened for unfair commercial practice. In the South of France, a Narbonne wine merchant who “disguised” over 4 million bottles is now facing up to two years in prison and at least 300,000 euros in fines.
The profits generated from the scandal are still being evaluated, though the Spanish wine passed as French would be sold at three times the amount, going up from 0.34 €/liter to 0.90 €/liter.