Fizzy Fraudsters?

The bombshell that broke this morning in the winelands – allegations that major producer and distributor Vinimark has been selling fizzy wine that was not Cap Classique and calling it Cap Classique, is the kind of thing The Observer was going on about on Sunday in their crime gangs extend into food fraud feature. Will consumers who paid the MCC premium be refunded?

vinim Fizzy Fraudsters?

The Observer reports “organised gangs are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their use of technology to perpetrate widespread food fraud, according to experts. A rise in criminal targeting of the food and drink sector is being blamed on the huge mark-ups that can be made by passing off inferior products as premium goods, coupled with the fact that there is little oversight and lenient penalties for those caught.”

Reading Nellie Brand-Jonker (perhaps Nellie Brand-Destroyer would be more appropriate) in Die Burger this morning, if true, its hard to escape the conclusion that a fizzy fraud has been perpetrated on SA bubbly lovers. SA wine has been seething with the story for months so it hats off to Nellie for popping the cork.

The stakes are high as question marks are now being thrown at the whole Krone brand – perhaps the most famous MCC in SA thanks for the pioneering work of Nicky and Mary Krone. The directors of Robertson Winery are unlikely to thank Vinimark CEO Tim Rands for dragging them into this mess.

If its all true, let’s see what penalties get handed down by the Wine and Spirits Board and the Cap Classique Association. Will sleepy WOSA react as Vinimark are in the export business too? Don’t hold your breath on this one. I predict there’ll be a lot of huffing and puffing and grandstanding and then… nothing. But if SA fizz loses its authenticity, what is left? Certainly restaurants who list Vinimark wines will be watching developments closely. Let’s hope SA wine does not become as dodgy as “extra virgin olive oil” or mutton passed off as lamb.