In 2009 The Consorzio del Vino Brunello di Montalcino announced a system where you can confirm your wine’s authenticity by texting a phone number with the letter and number code listed on the DOCG strip which is found on the neck of the bottle of Brunello. Once the information is received you then get a corresponding message that reveals essentially that the information listed on the wine label-producer, vintage, alcohol, etc. is correct. A guide for interpreting this information is here. You can now go directly to the Consorzio’s website here and input the same information to reveal the same results. Technology tools like this are handy considering that many wines in high demand are often being copied and reproduced. Just recently, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt were victims of the finest form of flattery when fake bottles of their very popular Miraval French Rose were discovered in the Chinese market.
The system the Consorzio offers is effective for any bottlings from the 1999 vintage on and offers the consumer a simple way of verifying that the wine they are drinking is indeed Brunello di Montalcino and has been produced by the estate listed on the label (and additionally is the vintage specified on the label). The DOCG strips are vintage and estate specific and are available only in January of the fifth year after harvest as is when Brunello (not Brunello Riserva, you must wait an extra year for these) can officially be released for sale by the wineries. The strips correspond to the exact number of bottles that have been certified as Brunello by the Consorzio.
A great Montalcino producer- Ciacci Piccolomini – with whom I had the pleasure recently to tour and taste, took an extra step to ensure their wines are protected by using a special hologram. Il Palazzone was one of the first Montalcino producers to include a QR code on our back label which is our modest way of offering transparency by linking you to vintage specific details such as individual production numbers, how long the wine was aged, etc. You will also see vintage harvest notes, tasting notes, up to date wine reviews and more.
It’s an interesting time in the wine world and good to know there are these tools out there to help keep the consumer informed and protected.