A Hove businessman has been convicted of selling fake Jacob’s Creek wine.
Salvatore Capuano, 34, of Palmeira Avenue, Hove, and his company Always 4 U were found guilty of four counts of breaking trademark and food safety laws.
Capuano denied the offences when he appeared before Brighton magistrates last Thursday (15 December).
The bench was told that he sold 60 fake bottles of the Australian wine in March through Always 4 U.
His offences came to light when trading standards officers were called to a warehouse in Coombe Road, Brighton, to help customs officers with an inspection.
They found 60 bottles of counterfeit Jacob’s Creek Semillon Sauvignon Blanc.
Trading standards officers also seized a number of bottles of Jacob’s Creek wine from an off-licence which Capuano said he had supplied.
He also said that he had no records of the shops that he had supplied.
Capuano admitted that he was supplied with 30 to 40 cases of Jacobs Creek wine of different varieties by a couple of men in a van.
They also supplied him with a number of bottles of White Russian vodka which were found to be incorrectly labelled.
John Peerless, head of trading standards at Brighton and Hove City Council, said: “We urge customers to be aware of cheap wine being passed off as well-known brands.
“The labels are often good imitations of the real thing, so you don’t know until you taste it.
“These products can be poor quality, potentially hazardous to health and are often illegal in that no duty or VAT has been paid.”
Mr Peerless urged owners of licensed premises not to buy wines or spirits from an unofficial supplier.
Anyone who is concerned that they may have bought or have been offered counterfeit wine or any other illegal alcohol can contact Consumer Direct on 0845 4040506.
Capuano was fined £800, ordered to pay a £15 victim surcharge and £2,000 costs.
The court agreed to a request from the council that the seized wine be forfeited and destroyed.
The council also asked for Mr Capuano’s licence to be revoked but this was turned down.