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Wine Counterfeiters Get Sloppy

It used to be that spotting the counterfeit wine was pretty tricky. You had to look for a cork that was just slightly too new; a label that was just a little too glossy; or perhaps even a vintage that was never made at the winery.

These days? Just look for the used piece of bubble gum floating in the wine.

Image courtesy of BBC News

According to the BBC, someone has been foisting off some cheap wines on a Liverpool, England liquor store. This is only the latest in a series of counterfeit wine scams that seem to have hit England in recent months. The latest involved some fake wine from Australia that was discovered only after someone noticed that whoever designed the label had misspelled the name of the country.

Counterfeit wine has probably always existed, at all levels of the price spectrum, but up until recently, we only heard much about the most egregious incidents in the fine wine world.

Apparently there's some question about whether the fake Blossom Hill White Zinfandel (a brand expressly created for the UK market by Diageo) was even wine at all. Even without the used chewing gum, it was apparently a bit of a nasty surprise for anyone looking for a cheap, pink bit of plonk.

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Required Reading for Wine Lovers

The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson Wine Grapes The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson to cork or not to cork by George Taber reading between the vines by Terry Theise adventures on the wine route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud