Above: A Carabinieri NAS officer inspects salmon. NAS is an acronym for Nuclei Antisofisticazioni e Sanità or Anti-Adulteration and Health [Safety] Squad (image via the Carabinieri Facebook).
On Saturday, a high-profile English-language pop culture website published a factually challenged post on a “sting operation” in Italy that has — according to the cheapjack author — ensnared “cheap grapes in fancy” and “prestigious wines.”
The story she referred to was first posted online by the Pordenone (Friuli) edition of Il Gazzettino on Wednesday afternoon of last week (she doesn’t credit the masthead).
“Early this morning,” wrote the author of the Gazzettino post, “in a dozen provinces (Pordenone, Udine, Treviso, Venice, Padua in the northeast, but also Reggio Emilia, Modena, Ravenna, Florence, Livorno, Naples, Bari and Foggia), Carabinieri from the Udine [Friuli] offices of NAS [Italy’s anti-adulteration and health safety force] and technicians from [Italy’s] anti-counterfeiting inspectorate searched roughly 50 wineries, distilleries, farming businesses, homes, and shipping companies. The searches were conducted on behalf of the Pordenone district attorney.”
Evidently, the search focused on the Cantina di Rauscedo cooperative (not to be confused with the famous Rauscedo grape vine nursery, which shares the place name Rauscedo — the largest hamlet in Pordenone province — with the bottler).
Nearly all 10 of the “roughly 10” persons under investigation, writes the author of the Gazzettino report, reside in Pordenone province.
(Translation mine. Because of the copyright, I don’t want to translate the entire article. Read it here in Italian.)
A query on WineSearcher.com reveals that the highest-price wine available from Cantina di Rauscedo clocks in at a hefty $12 or so (retail).
The winery also produces bag-in-box wine (what Americans know as “box wine”).
It appears that the wines are not available in the U.S.
So far, that’s what we can ascertain. We won’t know more until (notoriously tight-lipped) Italian officials reveal more information about the investigation.
Is a massive wine scandal fermenting in Italy? Let’s get the facts straight, people… please!
I’ll continue to follow the story and will post about it as it develops.
I live in Conegliano – a 15 minute- drive-distance from the province of Pordeone – I read the GAZZETTINO on-line article and…well, I would be very careful to use the word “massive” here…As you said, Jeremy, let’s get the facts straight: Thank you for your comment and for your up-dates to come.
Sara, Conegliano, ITALY
Sara, exactly! The whole point is that it’s not “massive” as the so-called American writer claimed. Hope to see you soon!
Great article,very interested in the following developing article…this has caused a little storm with many followers here in canada.