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Delhi Wine Club

Posted: Tuesday, March 2 2010. 17:57

No End to Gallo Misery

While the US wine importers including Gallo could face government action as a fall-out of the fake 'Red Bicyclette' Pinot Noir scandal from Languedoc, a California law firm filed a case against them and the French grower co-operative and the broker on February 25 on behalf of a petitioner, according to a report published through their PR agency

The Encino-based Kingsley & Kingsley law firm sued Gallo, French grower cooperative Sieur d ‘Arques and broker Ducasse Company, alleging unfair competition, false advertising and fraud in connection with the scandal.

“It is important that when consumers enter a supermarket or a wine store they can be assured that they are getting bottles of wine from the region represented and that they are of the vintage represented,” said attorney Eric Kingsley, who is representing a plaintiff named Mark Zeller.

While the suit states the defendants knew the wine they were selling was fake, Kingsley said he has no proof of that, and knows nothing about the case beyond what has been in the media. The complaint seeks an unspecified sum in restitution and damages.

A French court earlier this month convicted 12 men of selling 18 million of cases of fake pinot noir. Gallo says it imported about 3.6 million cases of the 2006 vintage. Rival Constellation Brands has said it imported less than 2 million cases from the same suppliers, but believes its wine was genuine pinot noir.

The company, which owns such brands as Clos du Bois and Robert Mondavi, said it also bought what was represented as pinot noir from the wine broker between 2006 and 2008. But Constellation said it had every reason to believe the wine was pinot noir because it had the required French documents and was tested internally and was found to contain pinot noir.”

U.S. officials, the Regulatory body the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), part of the US Treasury, is continuing its investigations into the issue, and has been involved in discussions with the relevant French authorities over the past year
'TTB is waiting for an official translation of the court documents and has begun investigations to determine the appropriate course of action to take regarding the American importers of these mislabeled wines,' said the Bureau.

'Additional actions may be indicated and appropriate once the necessary investigations have been completed and information is verified.'

Gallo has reportedly declined to comment so far. However, both Gallo and Constellation have pledged to work with the US authorities as investigations continue.


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