Incidents of this kind date back to antiquity. In these cases, attempts are made to "improve" the quality by means of unauthorised additives or to feign a false identity through manipulations such as fraudulent labelling or blending with lower-quality wines, while circumventing wine law regulations. The most spectacular or extensive wine fakes of modern times are described below:
In the 1960s, Italy became a popular holiday destination, especially in Germany, and millions of hectolitres of Italian wines were imported. Among them were cheapest products of alleged brands like Chianti (in the kitschy, bast-wrapped demijohns), Lambrusco and Valpolicella, which had never seen the respective growing regions. Many were fortified with sugar and water, embellished with cattle blood and the plant slime agar aagar (made from algae), and the fiery sheen was created by adding plaster. More than 200 wine counterfeiters were denounced, some of whom had also used river water and the decoction of spoiled figs or bananas for sweetening. The wine law introduced in 1963 with the DOC system had obviously not yet taken effect.