Italian Ambassador and Minister of Agriculture Meet with TTB Administrator
On October 20, 2009, the TTB Administrator met with the Italian Minister of Agriculture and with Italy's Ambassador to the United States. The Government of Italy requested the meeting to discuss the ongoing investigations into the improper blending of several Italian wines including Brunello di Montalcino. The Minister reassured TTB that his office has taken full responsibility for the integrity of all 500 Italian wine denominations and has ensured that none of the mislabeled products that have been the subject of numerous press reports for months now are on the market. He stressed that he has taken TTB concerns about the integrity of certain Italian wines seriously and consequently mandated a heightened quality control and oversight role for the Ministry of Agriculture. The Minister also advised that the court case would be concluding soon and that TTB would be provided with information on the final disposition of the cases as soon as possible. While reassuring the Ambassador and the Minister that TTB's goal is not to disrupt trade or act unfairly against producers who have not been found guilty, TTB strongly emphasized the need to receive the prosecutors report as soon as it is available to assist in determining the future need for and scope of the certification process currently being enforced by the Bureau.