Oz wine company in fake Chardonnay scam
A former boss of Rivers Wines in Adelaide has been found guilty of selling Chardonnay adulterated with Sultana grape juice. Andrew Hashim was convicted on 34 counts of falsifying records and in 2007 Rivers Wines pleaded guilty to 97 counts of the same charge.
The scam was first uncovered in 2003, when grape juice was quarantined by the Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation after winemakers suspected foul play. One of the buyers was Hardys who brought the matter to the attention of the authorities. At the time, Chardonnay grapes were selling for $1000 a tonne, while Sultana grapes were worth $250 a tonne.
Rivers Wines faces a maximum penalty of AUD $1.4 million, while Hashim could be fined up to AUD $102,000.