Fighting Back Against Fake Counterfeit Chianti – The Crucial Tips For Finding the Real Thing

Chianti is one of the most popular Italian wines. It stands right at the top of the heap when it comes to Italian red wine, with only Barolo and a select few others able to compete with it on quality and popularity.

But that popularity comes at a price.

Counterfeiters know that they can make a lot of money by tricking the public into purchasing fake Chianti. And tales of seizures over the years show us just how prevalent the counterfeiting market is for this wonderful wine.

Take a seizure of 47 hectares of vineyards that occurred in 2007. The owners of the Castelnuovo Berardegna had grown enough grapes to make 800,000 bottles of wine. The problem was that they intended to market the wine as Chianti Classico despite the fact that it did not meet the DOCG requirements to carry that label. This sophisticated mass fraud led to charges of VAT evasion and fraud for the company.

Another anti-fraud operation took place in 2014. This one seized over 30,000 bottles of fake Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino, and other wines in one fell swoop. The wines had been made using cheap grapes and were labelled as Chianti to allow the producers to sell them at inflated prices.

Sadly, forging Chianti is not an uncommon thing for fraudsters to do. That means you need to arm yourself with these tips to ensure you don’t spend money on anything but the real thing!

Tip No. 1 – Only Buy From Secure Online Shops

Chianti forgers can get away with what they do because they take advantage of loopholes and security gaps. That’s especially the case for the forgers selling their wares online. It doesn’t take much for a counterfeiter to set up a quick eCommerce website that it can use to sell fake wines.

That means you have to be vigilant when shopping online.

Reputation is everything in the online space. If the website you’re buying from isn’t trusted by other users, you may be using a site designed to sell fake wines. Look for reviews from other site users and check for the amount of effort that’s gone into designing the website. The larger the site (and more in-depth the information hosted on it) the less likely it is to be fake.

There are other ways you can check a website’s legitimacy too.

Check for a real address and phone number on the Contact Us page. You should also look for HTTPS at the beginning of the URL. The “s” tells you that the website has an SSL certificate that encrypts the information sent to the site. Scammers are unlikely to bother with these security measures because they don’t care what happens to your personal or payment information.

Tip No. 2 – Look for the Black Rooster

One of the few positives of counterfeiters is that they’re always chasing a quick buck. As a result, they’re far more likely to make simple mistakes that reveal the wines they make as being fake.

For example, many counterfeiters forget to include the famous Gallo Nero on their labels. This is the little black rooster that you will see on every legitimate version of Chianti. Furthermore, the rooster should only ever be found on the neckband or back label of the bottle.

If you don’t see the rooster, you have a definite fake in your hands that you should put down immediately. Unfortunately, savvy forgers will remember to use the rooster, meaning this isn’t a perfect strategy. But it will at least help you to avoid the lazier faked efforts.

Tip No. 3 – Ask the Seller About the Wine’s Production

Chianti is a fine wine, which means retailers should take special care to ensure they’re buying wines from legitimate producers. This duty of care naturally leads to the retailer learning a lot about the producers they buy from. That’s a good thing for you as a consumer because it means you can ask some pointed questions.

For example, try quizzing the retailer about the company behind the wine. Ask about specific vineyards and production methods. This is information that you can verify online but will be difficult for a forger to deliver in a face-to-face conversation. By researching production methods yourself, you build a wellspring of knowledge you can use to catch the fakers out.

By the way, if the retailer tells you the wine is made using anything other than Sangiovese and in any area other than Tuscany, run for the hills. It’s definitely fake.

Tip No. 4 – Use a UV Light

Many counterfeiters use materials like silicon to make their labels appear brighter than they really are. This sheen gives the impression of high-quality paper when the reality is that the paper is likely much cheaper than you’d find on a real bottle of Chianti.

That cost-cutting measure is something you can catch out with a UV light. Just shine the light on the label. If the label glows, that suggests additional materials have been used to change how the label looks.

Tip No. 5 – Look at the Stamp

This tip is especially useful for people who import Chianti. When a bottle of Chianti goes through customs, it’s stamped by a customs officer to confirm its legitimacy. That stamp is then subjected to the rigours of packing and shipping, which can lead to tears.

By contrast, counterfeiters will apply a fake customs stamp right before they sell the wine. The stamp will look as fresh as a daisy, which is a sign that it hasn’t been through a real customs process.

The Final Word

Forged Chianti is a real problem and Italian wine authorities are doing everything they can to stamp out counterfeiting. Still, it never hurts to be as vigilant as possible when making your own purchases.

With these tips, you reduce your chances of getting caught out. And with Xtrawine, you know you’re buying from an online retailer who you can trust to deliver real Chianti every single time.


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