The Court of Carcassonne in southwest France found 13 wine producers and traders guilty of fraud.

Thirteen wine producers and traders from the Languedoc-Roussillon in southern France, a region famous for its vineyards, were found guilty and 6 were sentenced  to 6 months suspended prison and fines for  selling 18 million bottles of fake Pinot Noir to USA winemakers, including America’s E. & J. Gallo Winery, and passing cheaper Merlot and Syrah as Pinot Noir - which is twice as expensive.  

The wine was sold under Gallo's popular "Red Bicyclette" Pinot Noir label.

Claude Courset of the Ducasse wine traders was sentenced to six-month suspended prison  with a fine of €45,000. Five other people were sentenced to fines of between €3,000 and 6,000 and the remaining six for less. The trading firm of Limoux was ordered to pay €180,000 in penalties, according to the BBC.

According to the BBC, French  fraud squad, the General Directorate for Competition Policy, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control (DGCCRF), figured out the scam when they noted that the amount of Pinot Noir being sold to Gallo exceeded the amount produced in the region and  when an audit at Ducasse revealed that he had been buying Pinot Noir at €58 per hL when the official market price was €97 .

The scheme ran from 2006 to 2008; 18 million of bottles were sold for € 7 million. 

But, as one French winemaker’s lawyer sniffed to the BBC: “Not a single American consumer complained.”  

 

The 10th anniversary of the Naples Winter Wine Festival, held Jan. 29-31, raised a grand total of more than $8.1 million, which was 60 percent more than was raised at the 2009 festival. The live auction of 60 one-of-a-kind lots totaled $7.1 million; the raffle of a Lexus IS C, the first-ever Lexus IS convertible, brought in $342,000; and Lot No. 50, a fund-a-need lot in which patrons dropped on-the-spot cash donations into buckets for a new children’s behavioral health initiative, amassed the most of any single auction lot: $647,850.

The festival has been ranked the most successful charity wine auction in the nation for the past six years by Wine Spectator. 

Since 2001, the festival has raised $82.6 million for underprivileged and at-risk children in Collier County, Fla., with proceeds distributed through the Naples Children & Education Foundation. Thanks to festival patrons’ generosity, nearly 100,000 children have been helped over 10 years through grants to children’s charities.

An NCEF check presentation and community celebration will be held April 18 to distribute funds raised at the 2010 festival. The 2011 festival will be held Jan. 28-30. For more information about the Naples Winter Wine Festival, go to www.napleswinefestival.com. 

parmigianoOn Saturday, February 27, at 3 p.m. EST/2 p.m. CST, Whole Foods Market’s cheese mongers in the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom will demonstrate the traditional method of breaking into 24-month-aged wheels of Parmigiano Reggiano using official tools (five different knives) from Italy’s Consorzio del Formaggio Parmigiano Reggiano. The process of carving into and portioning each 85-pound wheel requires an expert hand and is usually done in about half an hour.

 “We work with a small group of artisan producers in Italy to hand-select the very best Parmigiano Reggiano  wheels,  carefully aged for two years to bring out the best of Parmigiano Reggiano’s nutty and sweet flavors and creamy and crystalline textures.” says Cathy Strange, global cheese buyer for Whole Foods Market.

parmigiano 2In 2008, Guinness World Records confirmed that Whole Foods Market  set a record for “Most Parmigiano Reggiano Wheels Cracked Simultaneously,” with nearly 300 wheels opened at 176 stores. Whole Foods Market hopes to break that record with this year's event.  

Whole Foods Market invites shoppers to participate in an online recipe contest for a chance to win a $500 shopping spree, authentic cheese knife sets and gift baskets.  For one week, from February 3 through 10, submit your original recipes online (http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/products/behindtherind/ ).  The winning recipes will be featured on the Whole Story blog at www.wholefoodsmarket.com .  

Dating back almost 1,000 years, only Parmesan cheese made in one area of northern Italy can bear the name Parmigiano Reggiano.  In the rolling hills of Reggio Emilia, Parma, Modena and portions of Bologna and Mantua, Parmigiano Reggiano is made in small batches, using artisan methods that meet the strict quality standards of the Consorzio del Formaggio Parmigiano Reggiano.   

In addition to the February 27 “cracking events,” Whole Foods Market stores will provide recipes host in-store pairings and tastings in the cheese departments throughout February. For more information, go to: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/products/behindtherind /.

 

 

Set against the backdrop of glamorous South Beach the Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival will take place  February 26 – February 28, 2010 with a slew of exciting new happenings as well as the return of such signature events as the Perrier-Jouët Bubble Q  and many more events. For additional information, log on to  www.sobefest.com,  call: 877.762.3933, or go to HOT EVENTS

 

3postercamarapisaFriday, February 12, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., A Taste of Pisa – Specialty Food & Wine from the Heart of Italy,  is an exclusive invitation free to trade professionals ONLY by The Italy-America Chamber of Commerce in Miami and the Chamber of Commerce of Pisa.
The one-day fair is open only to buyers of the food & wine industries and is reserved to business meetings between exhibiting producers and importers, distributors and restaurateurs.
Event free and exclusive to trade professionals. Westin Colonnade Hotel,  Rotunda Hall, Coral Gables. For further information, contact the Italy-America Chamber of Commerce in Miami at  305-577-9868 or email to Sara D’Anzeo (danzeo@iacc-miami.com This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) or Corylie Suarez-Valente (suarez@iacc-miami.com This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ).

 

Food & Wine Talk Radio

 GELATO WORLD TOUR, RIMINI 2014, ITALY
 
Achile Sassoli, Director of Gelato World Tour
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Abdelrahman Al Teneji, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
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