The Carabinieri's anti-fraud unit (NAS) conducted increased controls in Italian wineries during the harvest month of September.
After 960 operations, 218 wineries were reported to the relevant health and administrative authorities for irregularities. Fines of €290,000 (about $307 million) were imposed for a total of 344 offenses. 17 companies were temporarily closed due to "hygienic, structural, and licensing deficiencies." Inadequate traceability in the inventory register led to the seizure of 300,000 liters of wine and fermenting must. Wineries that tried to increase the alcohol content of their wine with the prohibited practice of chaptalization were also caught. The Carabinieri seized 3,000 kg, of which 2,800 were from a winery in the province of Treviso.
According to the Carabinieri, the commercial value of the idle facilities and seized products totals €11m (about $11.6m). "The nationwide, intensified controls in the wine sector aim to verify the presence of illegal or health-endangering practices in winemaking, in order to protect both consumers and entrepreneurs in the supply chain who work with fairness and commercial honesty," the Carabinieri said in a statement. The Coldiretti farmers' association highlighted the importance of the wine industry as a leading economic sector in a comment, calling for "zero tolerance for fraud attempts." The goal is to protect a sector that, thanks to the commitment of 310,000 agricultural businesses, reached a turnover of almost €14bn (about $14.8bn) in 2022 and employs a total of 1.3m people. VC