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The country's biggest bulk merchant is under investigation following allegations cheap red has been passed off as quality Cotes du Rhone and Chateauneuf-du-Pape in a multimillion-pound fraud.
It is feared up to 40 million bottles of counterfeit wine, costing from £20 up to £100 a bottle, are for sale or have been sold across Europe, between 2013 and the present.
It is feared the counterfeit wine has been sold across Europe over the last four years
The scam is said to date back to 2013, but only came to light last year after French customs officials found discrepancies in a routine audit.
The probe is centred on wine giant Raphael Michel – based in Piolenc in Provence. Boss Guillaume Ryckwaert, 39, has been arrested and faces fraud charges.
The supposed scam only came to light last year
He took over the business in 2003 and has been the driving force behind booming sales, which have increased by up to 30% a year.
Nicholas Corke, of fine wine store Thos Peatling, in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, said: "There is every chance some of this wine has come across the Channel... It is simply cheap wine being passed off as expensive wine.
"The fake wine might very well be drinkable – but it is not what people expect if they are paying £20 a bottle."