40 mill. Bottles Counterfeited in Catalonia

In October 2021, the Catalan group "Reserva de la Tierra" was suspected of putting wines with fake DO seals into circulation. According to current media reports, 40 million bottles worth about 14.2 million euro are affected by the fraud - significantly more than previously assumed. The insolvent company has been bought by the private equity firm Sherpa Capital.

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Forgery scandal in Catalonia (Photo: andrano_cz/stock.abobe.com)
Forgery scandal in Catalonia (Photo: andrano_cz/stock.abobe.com)

Trial in Reus

Reserva de la Tierra is a big Spanish wine company which controls about 5,000 ha in Rioja, Castilla la Mancha, Ribera del Duero, and Rueda DO. 

Subject of the investigation was the period between 2019 and 2021. The court in the Catalan city of Reus has summoned employees from the company as well as associated lawyers, six persons in total. The trials are to begin on 21 September.

The company is accused of using bulk wine to fill bottles labelled as DO wine. Of the 40 million bottles, about 22 million are from the DO Terra Alta. This number exceeds the permitted DO production by a factor of 13. DO Tarragona was in second place with 6.3 million bottles, which exceeds the number of DO-qualified wines by a factor of 25. Furthermore, the DOs Catalunya and Montsant were affected, as well as the premium origin Priorat.

It was the consortia of the DOs Terra Alta, Montsant and Priorat that finally filed the complaint in court.

Distributed by Retail

As far as can be traced, the falsely declared wines ended up in the Spanish food retail, for example at Lidl or Mercadona. The proceedings are also directed against the companies belonging to the group Viña Tridado as producer and Corporación Vinícola Solitierra and Golf Global Wines, which are said to have coordinated the distribution.

Reserva de la Tierra has filled insolvency proceedings.

New Owner

Sherpa Capital, a private equity firm specialising in mid-market investments in the Iberian market has announced that it will take over Reserva de la Tierra. The transaction is considered as part of Sherpa Capital's wine project, which seeks to promote and consolidate the medium segment of Spanish wine:

"For Sherpa Capital, the entry in the wine sector is an exciting milestone that represents the first step of our project in the wine sector. Sherpa Capital will work to give the greatest possible impetus to the former Reserva de la Tierra in order to add our knowledge to theirs and thus strengthen it in the sector," said José María de Retana, investment director of the private equity firm.




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