On Thursday, April 8, Italy’s agriculture minister Luca Zaia announced the seizure of 10 million liters of adulterated Chianti DOCG. The seizure was ordered by Italian authorities in November 2009 and the story made headlines in Italy in December 2009.
“There will be no block of wine exports to the U.S.,” said the now lame duck minister and governor-elect of the Veneto in a statement delivered last Thursday at the Italian wine industry trade fair Vinitaly in Verona.
“We have avoided a catastrophe, particularly in the U.S. Luckily, we intervened in time… The wine was not a health risk but rather a bunch of rubbish” that was being sold as Chianti DOCG, said Zaia, according to a report published by Yahoo Italia. “The embassies are in contact and we have been following this situation for months. We will avoid the usual disagreements that penalize all wines.”
Although some observers, including VinoWire editor Franco Ziliani, have questioned Zaia’s motivation for waiting until last week to make the announcement, Mr. Ziliani praised the minister’s statement in his blog today: “It’s never too late,” he wrote, “to raise one’s voice, to take a tough stance, and to demand severe, clear-cut sanctions. The world of Italian wine must find the courage to free itself of scum like these parasites. They are a virus that threatens not only its health but also the credibility of Italian wine throughout the world.”