Rumblings in the Wine World

It has been a little under two weeks since Italy announced the findings in the Brunello di Montalcino scandal. In case you haven’t been following this case, Italian authorities – prompted by the United States – started an investigation to find out whether some renowned manufacturers of Brunello di Montalcino were making their wines with a blend of grapes instead of 100% Sangiovese. “Operazione Mixed Wine” found that five wineries – Antinori, Argiano, Banfi, Casanova di Neri and Marchese de Frescobaldi – were in fact mixing wines.

Vinowire, a blog that has been following the whole controversy, has posted notes on the fallout from its editor Franco Ziliani. You can read a translation here or check out Ziliani’s Vino al Vino blog for the original Italian.

Because of its high price tag, I don’t have many chances to indulge in Brunello. But it’s fascinating – and enraging, really – to think that the imported Brunello I have enjoyed wasn’t truly the real thing. I wonder what other Italian wineries and foodstuff producers are cutting corners? See A Slippery Business for another unfortunate example.

Photo by O. Strama

About Author

Melanie Renzulli has been writing about travel to Italy for more than 20 years.


  • Ana
    19 August 2009 at 6:52 am

    Hi , I am Franco Ziliani’s friend and I would like to inform you about a documentary( 30 min) made recently in Puglia (Italian heel).It talks about grapes being taken from Puglia region and used to make wines in Northern Italy. I wish this documentary could be shown on a national chanel in US. The timing is wright. The film director who made this documentary, Pascal Pezzuto has no luck in showing it on Italian national TV.

    • mmr
      20 August 2009 at 8:29 am

      Ciao, Ana! Thank you for the info about the documentary. Is there anywhere on the web where someone can see this documentary? Does Mr. Pezzuto have a website? I’d be happy to link to him and to find out more about this wine controversy.

  • Tina
    6 February 2010 at 9:01 am

    But we heard that this case (Brunellopoli) did not start with a worse wine but with a award winning wine.

    • Melanie
      8 February 2010 at 10:46 am

      This is the information I found in my research. But if you have more, please do share! It’s a fascinating case.


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“Italy and the spring and the first love all together should suffice to make the gloomiest person happy.” — Bertrand Russell