Tens of thousands of bottles with cheap plonk had been sold though, before the authorities in Lille in Northern France got wind of the fraud and began to investigate the doings of 21 persons regarding what turned out to be false discount fizz and not champagne.
Bought in supermarkets
The enterprising persons simply bought magnum bottles with cheap bubbly in big supermarkets, replaced the label with their own and sold the bottles for between five and ten times the prices they paid themselves.
The magnum bottles are closed with the same cork as true champagnes, whereas the most common size of bottle, the 75 centiliters, is closed with plastic capsule. Which is why the swindlers only sold the big bottles.
The heavy fist of justice
Madame Justice places her fist heavily when people play this kind of tricks on her. A winegrower from Montagne de Reims felt that this summer.
According to our local paper l'Union, the guy made his own illegal wine round the authorities and round the cooperative, where he delivers his quota of grapes.
The fraud cost him three months in prison, confiscation of the illegal 2500 bottles and a penalty of 80.000 euros.
Minimum 20 euro
If we return to the fraud in Lille, a magnum bottle normally never cost less than 20 euros. So if you were amongst the customers that had a magnum offered for just seven, it should have been possible to see through the fraud.
Our own magnum sells for about 25 euros.
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