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Great Eastern Wine Week, 9-18 September 2022

Monday, 28 February 2022

Winemakers and not-so-wily scammers


We are all familiar with the many scammers to be found in today's online environment - and the wine industry is a regular target for these chancers. 

A Victorian winemaker friend recently received an email that raved about his 2018 Pinot Noir, which had been sampled and enjoyed at a Melbourne restaurant. 

Nice. 

Except this person added: "I’m on a social network platform called TIKTOK and I’ve made a video talking about your wines and recommending this particular wine. I have given you a really good plug." 

And raved on: "I’ve put you on a social platform and given you a highly highly wonderful recommendation and are hoping that people will buy your wines."

This person claims to have 10,000 TikTok followers and then gets down to the nitty gritty:

"I’ve given free advertising to a market of 12,000 people worldwide - you can thank me by giving me a dozen bottles, I’m you’re [sic] advocate." 

Even worse, the scammer mentions the winemaker's former partner, who died several years ago. And does not, of course, include a link to the alleged TikTok review. 

There were a couple of giveaways in that the email was full of both spelling and grammatical errors. Bin. 

Many winemakers are also familiar with emails demanding replacement bottles for those that were "corked". 

One winemaker tells me a funny story. 

"There was an email I received in about 2006 complaining that they had a bottle of my wine that was corked. 

"I had stopped using corks a few vintages before the one they claimed was corked. They wanted me to send a replacement bottle to an address in NE Vic that was a vacant block. 

"I emailed a warning to friends who still used cork and found that the person had tried the same scam widely." 

It seems busy winemakers are seen as any easy target. Stay sharp people. 

And if anyone else has been a victim of these, or similar, scams, please drop me a line. 
 

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