Led by the Guardia and aided by La Rioja’s Agri-food Quality Control Service, the operation exposed the sale of over 18,400 bottles falsely labelled with the prestigious Málaga denomination. The fraud, valued at over 227,000 euros, was executed by three individuals using a scheme that passed off low-grade La Riojan wine as high-quality Málaga wine, specifically from regions like Málaga, Sierra de Málaga, and Pasas de Málaga.

The fraud was brought to light following a complaint about unauthorised sales of white wine bottles bearing the “Manilva” label, a term exclusively used by registered producers. Investigations into more than a thousand wine labels and back labels traced the fraudulent wines back to La Riojan bottlers and online wine retailers. Quality tests revealed the wines were not made with 100% Muscat of Alexandria grapes, a hallmark of Málaga designation wines, but with La Rioja grapes instead.

Investigators uncovered the fraudsters’ tactics of marketing the wine with protected terms like “DOC Vinos de Fincas” without the necessary certifications or authorizations, misleading consumers into believing they were buying authentic Málaga wines.

In Operation “Utrem,” the three individuals involved have been charged with crimes including industrial property infringement, document falsification, market and consumer fraud, and deception.



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