New wine security features protect vineyards from fraud and bring added benefits
With the eruption of the Brunello forged wine scandal, winemakers around the world are taking notice that wine fraud is on the rise and that it can happen to anyone. Vineyards in South Africa have stepped up their labeling in order to prevent fraud.
The Cape Winemakers Guild ordered holographic stickers with the year 2014 on them and are placing the holograms on bottles from this year’s vintage. Holograms are difficult to forge and give an added boost to security. The South African labels also have a secret security feature that makes them nearly impossible to replicate. The move comes out of the scandals and a distrust of auction houses, who many don’t believe do enough to check on the authenticity of the bottles. The hologram was introduced at an auction, a move likely made keep politics out of wine and show a united front against fraudulent wines.
While the Cape Town wines being labeled are not in the collectable class, they are on the rise in popularity and currently exported at about 500 million liters of wine a year. The hologram has the likely unintended consequence of both raising awareness of the guild’s recognition of the rising incidences of wine fraud and shows their willingness to protect their brand.
In addition to the Brunello scandal, one of the biggest wine con artists was sentenced to ten years last month. Rudy Kurwanian was found guilty on several charges related to fake wine. Regarded as a wine expert with a keen ability to taste Kurwanian made millions off those to whom he sold bottles. While the bottles looked like those of premium wines they were actually wines he produced in the basement laboratory of one of his homes. He used the money he gained through his cons on fine art, luxury cars, and premium bottles for his private collection. In addition to ten years in prison he was fined $20 million and ordered to compensate his victims nearly $30 million.
It is likely more vineyards and collectives will take measures, like the Cape Town Guild’s holograms, to prevent their own bottles being counterfeited both to protect themselves and to show that they are serious, knowledgeable players in the wine world.