A clutch of French winemakers and dealers have been convicted of fraud after selling millions of bottles of fake Pinot Noir to E&J Gallo.

The international wine buyer was duped into buying 18 million bottles of wine from the Languedoc-Roussillon region labelled as Pinot Noir – but which actually consisted of a far cheaper blend.

The fraudsters, who were handed fines and suspended jail terms, are believed to have made up to £7m from the scam, according to the Daily Mail.

A spokeswoman for Gallo said: “When more information becomes available to us from the authorities we will move quickly to ensure that the trust people place in our company and our wines is not put at risk.”