Italy: Wine into Water

For months the carabinieri had been keeping an eagle eye on a padlocked wine cellar in the Adriatic seaport of Porto d'Ascoli. In it were 3,400,000 quarts of red wine stored in vats sealed by the police. The wine, an adulterated brew made of such confections as tar acid, ammonia, glycerin, citric acid, a sludge taken from the bottom of banana boats, and, of course, alcohol, was Exhibit A in a continuing case against 260 defendants charged with selling the grapeless vino throughout Italy. Oddly enough, those who sampled the stuff swore...

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