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Four Men On Trial for Tainting Millions of Gallons of Wine

May 20, 1986 GMT

KREMS, Austria (AP) _ Four men went on trial Tuesday charged with producing 7.3 million gallons of artificial wine and lacing another 1.5 million gallons with the antifreeze ingredient diethylene glycol.

The main defendants in one of the major trials growing out of last year’s wine-tainting scandal are Richard Grill, 54, and his 57-year-old brother Josef. They are charged with felony fraud in the 127-page indictment and face up to 10 years in prison.

Austria’s wine export industry suffered severely from the scandal.

Most wineries were found to have adulterated their products in one way or another to increase the sugar content. Bottles were pulled from store shelves around the world, but no cases of illness were traced directly to doctored wine.

Also on trial are the manager of the Grill winery, Otto Nadrasky, who the indictment said ″improved″ a formula for producing artificial wine from grape residues, chemicals and water, and Franz Authrith, another employee.

Richard Grill pleaded guilty, and his brother did not plead, according to the Austria Press Agency report of the trial. Nadrasky pleaded guilty to violating the existing wine law and Authrith acknowledged partial guilt, the report said.

The Grill winery went bankrupt and was taken over by a supermarket chain.