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EU pursues fine wine counterfeiters

PARIS — European authorities are pursuing a network of counterfeiters who passed off hundreds of bottles of lesser wine as Romanee-Conti, often considered the best and most expensive wine in the world.

The Burgundy vineyard sounded the alarm last year, suspecting that bottles with Romanee-Conti labels were fake, the Dijon prosecutor’s office said this week.

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A few dozen of the suspect bottles were seized and tested by a French government lab. The analysis found a mediocre wine inside, masquerading as one that can sell for up to $12,000 a bottle.

Vintners from Burgundy said that counterfeit wines often end up in China, where consumption of fine wine , especially French wineis exploding and driving astronomical prices.

This month, police in several European countries raided 20 houses and offices, detaining several people. They turned up packaging that was used in the counterfeiting. France has asked for the extradition of two Italians who were arrested.

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