French Nailed for Selling Fake Pinot to Gallo
E and J Gallo unwittingly sold fake Red Bicyclette
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 18, 2010 5:47 AM CST
French wine makers palmed off cheaper wine as Pinto Noir to unsuspecting Yanks.   (Shutter Stock)

(Newser) – French winemakers have been convicted in a massive scam to dupe unwitting Yanks by passing off 18 million bottles of a cheaper wine as Pinot Noir. The French producers sold the wine to major US buyer E and J Gallo for its popular Red Bicyclette brand. By calling a cheaper grape Pinot Noir, the winemakers more than doubled their profits, raking in more than $10 million euros from the fraud, the BBC reports.

Not a single Red Bicyclette drinker tasted the difference, apparently; the scam was uncovered only after French customs agents noticed that the amount of Pinot Noir being exported to Gallo far exceeded the total amount of the wine that the region produced. Gallo, which was not in on the plot, said it is "deeply disappointed" and no longer selling any of the fake Pinot Noir to its customers.