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Fake Boutique Wines

Posted: Sun 22 Oct 2006 12:21
by Santiago
A contact of mine has just got a job working for a very well known mail-order wine club in the UK.
His task is to find cheap bulk wine from various Coops in the Languedoc Roussillon that can be labelled as "an exclusive boutique wine from a small producer" and sold to unsuspecting customers in Britain.

I don't know how many of you realise, but it's common practice for the big wine clubs to do this.

I ordered a case of boutique wines from the same club last year. I wasn't that impressed by the wines but the most disappointing thing was to find that the first 4 "exclusive" wines I checked were produced by some of the largest bulk wine producers in Australia, Chile and South Africa.

So next time one of these clubs offers you an "exclusive new find" the chances are the only thing exclusive or new about it is the label.

In France, the capsule covering the cork is marked on top with either "Recoltant" or "N". A recoltant is a producer, whereas N stands for Negociant, menaning the wine has been made by someone else and blended and bottled by the Negociant. Independent Vignerons, who grow, make and bottle the wine themselves, can use a special capsule showing a man carrying a barrel.

Unfortunately in the UK, there is no such differentiation, which allows unscrupulous merchants to make something appear to be something that it isn't.

I'm interested to know your opinions on this...

Posted: Sun 22 Oct 2006 14:01
by Marguerite & Steve
We feel they are way over priced, we have just received some money off vouchers for The Sunday Times wine club, but to be used against their selection of wines. Wasn't impressed.

Re: Fake Boutique Wines

Posted: Tue 24 Oct 2006 13:47
by graham34
Its probably indicative of the way the UK wine market has gone over the past 10+ years that such misleading labelling has become necessary.

There are supermarkets and big high street chains at one end and independent wine merchants (with or without one or two shops) at the other with nothing in between. The big boys are only going to be interested in wines that are available in vast quantities, and if not then they had better be higher priced and preferably recognisable (e.g. Bordeaux classed growth, vintage champagne etc.)