The danger of counterfeit food and drink products has been highlighted by Italian authorities after they seized 9,000 bottles of fake Moët & Chandon Champagne.

Estimated by the Guardia di Finanza, Italy’s finance police, to be worth €350,000, the haul also included 40,000 bogus Moët & Chandon labels the alleged counterfeiters could have used to earn an estimated €1.8m.

The fake bubbly - actually sparkling table wine - was discovered in a shed in the countryside near Padua, northern Italy, last year, but has only now been made public. Eight people face charges in connection with what the Guardia di Finanza described as “one of the most significant seizures of contraband Champagne in Europe”.

The wine will be donated to “associations” working in the Veneto, the home of Prosecco, the Italian police said.

Moët & Chandon said it was “extremely vigilant and makes every effort to protect its product and consumers from any kind of counterfeit. We work very closely with the authorities in all of our markets, including local police forces, to ensure that only authentic Moët & Chandon products are sold.

“We recognise the excellent work of the authorities to seize counterfeit products, and we do not hesitate to prosecute.”