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Australian winemaker faces prosecution

5/15/2000-Kingston Estate Wines, a leading Australian wine produce,r is facing fines and a potential sales backlash after it was found by an industry regulatory body to have wrongly used silver nitrate in some of its wine on Friday. As a result, the entire Australian wine industry will be audited and the Commonwealth Department of Public Prosecutions will be asked to consider criminal charges against Kingston Estate Wines. The winemaker can face fines of up to $10,000 if the charges go ahead and company is found guilty of breaching the Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation Act. The general manager of the Wine and Brandy Corporation, Sam Tolley, said that inspectors would begin a national audit of all shelf wines and wineries next week to reassure consumers and retailers. Kingston Estate Wines, a family-owned South Australian company that exports about $12 million of wine annually, had its licence suspended this month after two U.S. students who had worked at the winery, and were involved in a pay dispute, made the allegations. Tolley said inspectors found small traces of silver nitrate in some of Kingston Estate Wines' export products, but he stressed the levels detected were no threat to public health.


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