Back in 2014, celebrity chefs Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich were forced to close the wine shop inside Eataly—the branch of the Italian food emporium located on West 23rd Street in Manhattan—after the New York State Liquor Authority slapped the store with a $500,000 fine. The co-owners had been accused of breaking a somewhat arcane law that bars liquor license-holders from also producing wine (even overseas). Now, two years later, it seems similar troubles have followed the world's largest Italian marketplace back to the old country.
According to Eater, Italian Antitrust Authorities recently placed a €50,000 sanction (roughly $57,168 USD) on the company for mislabeling its vino as "Free Wine"— a title reserved for bottles with less than 50mg/L of added sulfites.
Authorities discovered that wine sold by Eataly between April 2014 and January 2016 contained multiple chemical compounds, and decided the Free Wine label was misleading due to the additives. The Free Wine Association—as well as the companies Mirafiore and Fontanafredda—was also sanctioned due to its part in the distribution of Eataly's fraudulent bottles.
Despite Eataly's recent wine woes, Fast Company reports that the market's New York and Chicago outposts pull in a total of $135 million each year. Something tells us they'll be able to afford this pesky €50,000 fine.