French customs authorities have opened a major investigation into the alleged sale of more than half a million bottles of fake Bordeaux to key international wine distributors.
The inquiry is said to involve the alleged transformation of 4,200 hl of bulk wine from Languedoc into bottles of Bordeaux orchestrated by a Bordeaux negotiant, and arranged through the falsification of electronic documents to make the wine untraceable.
The inquiry is causing more than a stir in the Bordeaux wine industry, with more than a third of the 4,200 hl believed to have been transformed into Bordeaux AOC, with 700 hl said to have been turned into Bordeaux Superior.
According to French publication Vitisphere, however, 700 hl of Languedoc wine was transformed into Pomeral; 600 hl into Margaux; 350 hl into Pauillac and a further 100 hl into Saint-Julien wine, between 2012 and 2014.
It reported the wine was sold by a negotiant to major global distributors including the Castel Group, Grand Chais de France and Grands Vins de Gironde for as much as 10 times the amount of the price of generic Languedoc wine.
Bordeaux wine board the CIVB has so far declined to comment on the investigation.