Brunello wine makers use texts to ensure authenticity

Fri Feb 5, 2010 2:44pm EST
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By Leslie Gevirtz

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Brunello di Montalcino, the famed, rich red wine from Tuscany that was embroiled in an adulteration scandal for its 2003 vintage, has turned to technology to ensure a bottle's authenticity.

A consortium of Brunello producers is using mobile phones and the Internet to assure consumers about the purity of the product.

"You can now SMS - text - to get the bottle's history," Stefano Campatelli, director of the Consorzorio del Vino Brunello di Montalcino said Thursday.

Each bottle of the 2004 vintage has a red label either around the neck or over the capsule on which a series of three letters and eight numbers are printed.

Consumers can text that information along with the size of the bottle (usually 750 ml) to a telephone number in Italy +39 366 300 8880.

"You will get back a text that will tell you information about the producer, how many bottles were produced, the history of the bottle," Campatelli explained while taking out his cellphone to demonstrate.

The Consorzorio also offers a similar traceability feature on its website: here.

Brunello di Montalcino must be made solely from Sangiovese grapes. But it 2008 Italian government officials found some producers of the 2003 vintage were using grapes such as Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon to make the wine.   Continued...

<p>A waiter serves a glass of red wine in a file photo. REUTERS/Victor Fraile</p>