Wine club marketing lists were used to target wine lovers with an investment opportunity in a vineyard in Australia that didn’t exist.

Some victims of the fraudsters are reported to have parted with £100,000, and the six suspects, based on the south slopes of east London are said to have received £3 million.

Earlier this year it emerged that wine giant in the USA, Gallo had paid considerably over the odds for 18 million bottles worth of a red blended with a number of grape varieties that was sold to them as pinot noir and marketed by them as such under their Red Bicyclette brand. French customs brought a case against those involved in the fraud in France and a dozen people received fines for deception, with one additionally receiving a suspended prison sentence.

The prosecutors commented that the outcome of the Americans losing confidence in French wine production could be “terrible” for France.

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