The Spanish Prosecutor’s Office has lodged a file with the National Court to investigate four major wineries of the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) of Valdepeñas: Félix Solís, García Carrión, Bodegas Navarro López and Bodegas Fernando Castro.
There are two charges against the Spanish wine industry:
- False advertising on labels of wine bottles regarding the reserve and aging process of the respective wines, and
- Fraud charges for not declaring to the Regulatory Council the total amount of liters of wine sold. The wine producers have declared far less than the actual amount of wine sold.
Reportedly, Judge José Luis Calama heard the serious complaints of misleading advertising, fraud and document falsification on April 5, 2021.
The judge has deemed the labels on the bottles were “misleading.”
Now, the court has called on the Specialized and Violent Crime Unit (UDEV) and the Economic and Fiscal Crime Unit (UDEF) of the Police to determine exactly how many bottles have been sold with false information.
The judge is not showing leniency regarding the fraud charges for not declaring the total wine sold either.
Indeed, the fact that the wineries declare to the regional administration a quantity of wine sold to customers and that they declare different quantities, much higher than those declared by the wineries, is an indication of a lack of traceability of the wine, thus as of irregularities in the commercialization,” said Judge José Luis Calama, as per Euro Weekly.Judge José Luis Calama
Big Wine’s lobby campaign against effective alcohol policy solutions
The Spanish wine industry’s fraudulent business activities, including misleading labeling, brings into sharp focus the fundamental conflict of interest when the alcohol industry, including Big Wine, wants to be a part of alcohol policy development.
Two recent conflict of interest cases have raised concerns.
As the European Union begins developing alcohol health warning labels, following direction from the new EU Beating Cancer Plan, Big Alcohol has launched an aggressive fight against labeling.
And as the World Health Organization is developing a new global alcohol action plan to improve implementation of the WHO Global Alcohol Strategy, the alcohol industry has deployed not just Big Tobacco tactics but also Big Tobacco allies to derail the WHO effort.
The wine industry is at the frontline of both these lobby campaigns to derail and destroy public health policy-making to protect people and communities from the products and practices of the alcohol industry.