By John Ensor •
Updated: 17 Oct 2023 • 11:50
Stock image of red wine.
Credit: Igor Normann/Shutterstock.com
A recent investigation has uncovered a scandal involving two Spanish wine producers, accused of selling millions of litres of wine falsely labelled as Crianza, Reserva and Grand Reserva.
Two leading Spanish wine producers are now under the spotlight. On Wednesday, October 4, Valdepeñas, a prominent wine-producing region in Ciudad Real, saw two of its major wine magnates, Felix Solis Yañez and Jose Garcia-Carrion, being summoned by the National Court.
The duo have been under investigation since 2020, following allegations of fraudulent practices in the wine industry, according to 20 Minutos.
Associations ASAJA and COAG, after years of demanding transparency, handed over documents to the Ciudad Real Prosecutor’s Office. These papers revealed accusations between Felix Solis Avantis and Garcia-Carrion, suggesting the sale of unaged wine as aged. Garcia-Carrion’s complaint mentioned a ‘clear indication of fraud’ by Felix Solis, alleging that ‘two out of every three of his bottles of aged wine were actually not.’
Felix Solis, the CEO and president of wineries under his name, is scheduled to testify on December 11. A week prior, on December 4, Jose Garcia-Carrion, associated with the Don Simon and Pata Negra brands, will face the court. Both are charged with fraud, misleading advertising, and falsifying documents.
Additionally, certifying bodies Liec Agroalimentaria SL and Sohciert SA are also implicated. The judge believes they might have played a role in the alleged crimes. Francisco Martinez Arroyo, the Agriculture Minister of Castilla-La Mancha, will be testifying as a witness.
In 2021, the Prosecutor’s Office initiated a lawsuit against Solis, Garcia-Carrion, and two other businessmen. This legal turmoil led to the dissolution of the Interprofessional of the Valdepeñas designation of origin. Investigations revealed that both Solis and Garcia-Carrion might have been selling more aged wine than they produced.
Detailed scrutiny of sales data between 2010 and 2019 showed discrepancies. For instance, in early 2019, Felix Solis’s winery had 914,988 litres more than reported. The difference between what Solis declared and what was acknowledged by thirteen buyers amounted to 15,621,492 litres of wine from 2017 to 2019.
For Garcia Carrion, a gap of six million litres was found between 2017 and 2019. To match the aged wine sales, Carrion would have required over 89,000 additional barrels in 2016 alone. The subsequent years also showed significant barrel deficits.
Both Solis and Garcia-Carrion will soon answer to Judge Calama. The certifying companies, tasked with annual wine checks, failed to report these discrepancies. The National Court believes these entities might have issued ‘certificates of aptitude “knowing that the data contained does not correspond to reality.”‘
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Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina.
He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.
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