Italian winemakers tackle counterfeit alcohol in Russia

The Consortium for the Protection of the Asti, a well-known Italian sparkling wine, has developed special bottle stickers which enable consumers to check whether the wine they have purchased is genuine.

The measure has been taken mainly to protect Russian customers from counterfeit alcohol. The Asti consortium was established in 1932 to monitor the quality, and improve the production, of the Asti sparkling wine, which comes from the Piedmont region of Italy.

As the St Petersburg Times reported on May 11 2011, each bottle of genuine Asti wine now features a sticker with a unique code that consumers can enter on the website of the Asti consortium to obtain more information on the product.

“Russia is one of the top five key consumers of Asti wine in the world, along with the United States, Germany, Great Britain and Italy itself,” explained Paolo Ricagno, the president of the Asti consortium. Ricagno added:

It is high time that we dealt with the counterfeit issue. It is a shame that, in Russia, one of our most important markets, the customers, attracted by the good name of Asti, purchase horrendous fakes that smell so bad you wouldn’t want to taste them, and have nothing in common with our product.”

Jelena Jankovic, PETOŠEVIC, Belgrade

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