To all of you that believed in the safety of the Swiss wine market, you were wrong!

18 Dec, 2020

Tignanello and Sassicaia again at the center of a counterfeiting and smuggling operation. This time even the safe and reliable Swiss market was involved.



After the famous scandals that involved the European wine market in the past years, a general confidence and trust raised in the mind of producers and customers about the security of the market itself. Today, the methanol scandal in Italy at the end of the ‘80s (1) and the arrest of Rudy Kurniawan (2) seem to belong to a dark age now over. The problem seems not “ours” anymore, but only about the Asian market, in which bottles are not meticulously counterfeited but inaccurately copied. “There – they say – controls are weak and customers not real connoisseurs.”

The truth is that these days the problem of counterfeit fine wine is emerging with renewed intensity in Europe. And just where you think the controls are stricter than any other country, the last wine fraud has been uncovered. Last week, in Piedmont region, the Italian police broke up a band that crafted fake fine wines and sold them in Ticino, Switzerland. (3) The Anti-Fraud Unit estimated that the gang has marketed, in the period 2016 – 2018, more than 54 thousand bottles of counterfeit wine to the Swiss market, such as to allow an illicit profit of almost one million euros. Of this huge number of units, only 5 thousand bottles have been found and confiscated at the border. Among the fake wines that ended up on the shelves of Swiss supermarkets there were the famous Tignanello, Sassicaia, Sito Moresco and Amarone.

Why do European wine producers keep on denying their products and their customers the right guarantee of safety and authenticity they deserve? DOC and DOCG public seals together with easy-to-clone solutions based on QR codes are not enough anymore. Consumers and public authorities today require a safe and instant method to check for authenticity.

The technology provided by Authena in this case matches exactly the needs of companies and of the whole sector. Combining a physical seal with an advanced digital technology based on IoT and Blockchain in fact, Authena is the only solution available on the market that integrates efficiently:

• Fraudulent re-filling protection
• Traceability and grey market prevention
• Product opening identification
• Effective end user direct engagement
• Instantaneous authentication of genuine product

Companies partnering with Authena apply a patented NFC tag to their products via common labeling machines. The tag will then capture data, such as when and where the item is opened, to help prevent content substitution. With the help of an app, the end-users can also read the tags to ensure that their products have not been tampered after production and access details regarding brand, product characteristics and sustainability certifications.

Alessandro Tacconelli

To all of you that believed in the safety of the Swiss wine market, you were wrong!