Italian Authorities Uncover Counterfeit Tignanello Wine Scheme

Three people have been arrested, accused of trying to sell fake bottles of the super Tuscan in Italy, Germany and Belgium

Cassia Schifter
Posted: February 15, 2019

Photo by: Courtesy Marchese Antinori
Tignanello was one of the first super Tuscans, made on a hillside estate in Chianti Classico.

Italian authorities have arrested three suspects in a scheme to sell at least 11,000 counterfeit bottles of the legendary super Tuscan wine Antinori Toscana Tignanello in Italy, Germany and Belgium. First reported by Italian media, the arrests were confirmed to Wine Spectator by Alessia Antinori, vice president of Marchesi Antinori. She said the bottles were labeled as the 2009, 2010 and 2011 vintages of Tignanello but were filled with low-quality wine.

The Parma Public Prosecutor and the health divisions of Italy’s national police in Florence and Cremona uncovered the fraudulent bottles. The police were able to prevent the fake wine from being distributed, and arrested Matteo Fazzi, 31, who remains in jail, as well as his mother, Maria Alessandra Morini, 57, and another man, Sergio Papa, 54, both placed under house arrest. The investigation is ongoing, however, and there are at least six others who are suspected of involvement.

Alessia Antinori says that Marchesi Antinori has begun adding anti-counterfeiting measures to its wines in recent years, including Tignanello, a super Tuscan red made on a small estate in Chianti Classico. “Starting with the 2013 vintage, we put the embossed logo [on the bottle],” she said. “With the 2015 vintage we added the embossed ‘Tignanello’ name and since 2016 we have been using a small label on the bottles to defend against counterfeiting.”

Wine Spectator.