Des vins, du sucre, et de l’eau
day vaa, dew sew-kray duh lo. Click below to hear this.*
About wines, sugar, and water
Yesterday, it was all about the wine and the “bad guys” who cheat.
If you were a money-grabbing, dishonest winemaker, how would you cheat without ruining your reputation?
A follow-up article in Le Monde explains both the science and French law regarding wine fraud. You can click on this link to read the entire article (it’s long!), but here I will quote a few short passages. La direction, in these excerpts, refers to the DGCCRF:
« Selon le site de la direction, la principale difficulté du contrôle est qu'”il est extrêmement facile de mélanger un vin cher–appellation réputée, château célèbre–avec un vin plus courant pour réaliser des plus-values substantielles“. Pour détecter la fraude, un bilan comptable de l’ensemble des entrées et sorties de l’entreprise est donc nécessaire. La dégustation ou d’autres techniques ne suffisent pas. »
In other words (English ones), tasting isn’t enough. They have to be able to see the complete records of what came in and what went out–not just money, but specific items, grapes, sugar, wines, and so on–in order to detect the exact content of each bottle.
And that matters because the most common type of fraud involves cutting the wine with some type of contaminant. It could be a cheap, inferior wine, so as to make the quality wine go farther and yet sell at top prices. It could be adding sugar or water to improve the taste. Or adding a bit of quality wine to an inferior one, again to improve the taste but sell at a higher price.
In any case, the purity of the wine as proclaimed on the label is compromised. Even an infinitesimal amount per bottle or per glass is enough to boost profits without a noticeable effect on the taste of the wine, and that’s illegal.
Tomorrow, it’s about the science, and the “good guys” who catch the cheaters!
*Some mobile phones, such as Blackberries, won’t display the audio player. If no player appears, here’s an alternative link to the audio file: