A fraudster is approaching South Australian wineries trying to get free wine – telling the wineries that he found a fly in a bottle of expensive wine.
A leading South Australian winery contacted WBM on Friday to warn other wineries about the sham.
The winery said that someone emailed them to say he had found a fly in one of the winery’s $150 bottles of wine and wanted it replaced. The wine was a 1998 vintage.
The fraudster told the winery that he opened the bottle for his mum’s 70th birthday party. “It ruined Mum’s birthday – completely ruined the whole thing,” he told the winery.
The winery took it seriously – “you have to”, the proprietor of the winery said – and followed it up with a major retailer where the man had claimed to have bought the wine.
The retailer confirmed that they had never stocked the wine. The customer said that he had thrown out the empty bottle. The fraudster even emailed a photo of the ‘offending fly’ to the winery.
This morning WBM was approached by another leading South Australian winery that had been conned.
“We were victims of the ‘fly in the wine’ scam too,” the winery said.
“We obviously wanted to do the right thing, and sent a bottle of wine by way of apology, but I’m now trying to stop the courier en route.”
Meanwhile a third winery (in the Yarra Valley) has come forward today saying they have been approached by the man.
All three wineries have one thing in common: they all produce super-premium wines.
The fraudster is believed to be a resident of Tasmania.
Have you been approached by a customer claiming to have found a fly in his bottle of wine? Let us know. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
• A version of this article first appeared in our free weekly wine industry e-bulletin The Week That Was. You can sign up on the home page.