Winegrowers back ministry as Waipara winery is accused of fraud
A North Canterbury winery and its principals are facing dozens of charges relating to mislabelled wines made between 2012 and 2013.
Details of the case, brought by the Ministry for Primary Industries, have been revealed in the Christchurch District Court after the lifting of suppression orders.
A total of 160 charges against Southern Boundary Wines, former directors Andrew Moore and Scott Berry and winemaker Rebecca Cope were first laid in January under the Wine Act and the Crimes Act.
The allegations include mislabelling of Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir wine from vintages between 2011 and 2013 and the falsification of records. The amount is not known but the wines were sold locally and exported.
New Zealand Winegrowers says while the allegations are serious for the industry’s reputation, it is not a health and safety issue.
“New Zealand wineries and grape growers are committed to the highest standards of product integrity and quality, and there are very good systems in New Zealand to ensure this,” NZ Winegrowers acting chief executive Jeffrey Clarke says.
“The investigation proves the systems work and it is appropriate that this matter is before the courts.
“The New Zealand wine industry is highly regarded around the world and we cannot let the alleged actions of one winery damage a reputation that we have all worked so hard to build.”
The actual wines and their brands involved in the case have been suppressed, pending a further court hearing next week.
Southern Boundary’s website says the business is 30 years old.
A new law protecting the geographical location of wines recently came into effect, giving producers and consumers confidence the wines are authentic and come from the regions stated on the labels.