Italian Wine Industry Cracking Down on Foreign Imitators


The Italian wine industry is fed up with imitator products, which costs Italy’s producers up to $1 billion annually, according to Wine Searcher. In efforts to eliminate imitations, Italian authorities have signed a deal with eBay in which the retailer will be responsible for removing any wines advertised on its site that misuse the name of or imitate a protected Italian wine style or region.

Italian government minister Maurizio Martina recounts that so far, it’s been discovered that 160 products worth approximately $55 million are claiming falsely to be “Made in Italy.” Martina explained the scope of this new deal saying, “I want to emphasize that we are the only country in the world to have entered into a such agreement with an online platform of the reach of eBay, with 800 million listings in the world.”

There have been other attempts by the Italian wine industry to call out imitations, including a “Corner of Shame” set up at The Italian Wine Trade Fair that included prosecco made in Crimea, South American marsala and Chianti from both the US and Canada. While US Chianti producers aren’t doing anything illegal by current EU-US legal arrangements, the Italian winemakers fear that foreign products labeled with “Chianti” and other protected Italian names could hurt respective regions’ reputations, especially in emerging markets. [Wine Searcher][Photo: Flickr/Ken Hawkins]