FAKE WINES ARE ONLY IN CHINA?
Rudy Kurniawan and his fake wines sold in American auctions would say the contrary. His counterfeited wines have spread to the world from California to Hong Kong or Singapore. 5 years after his arrest, Rudy’s wines are still hidden on the market. This landmark wine fraud case not only raised awareness among consumers but also highlighted the fact that Rudy Kurniawan was just the tip of the iceberg. Many smaller counterfeiting factories and individuals act and feed wines and spirits markets with fakes every day.
In China, wine fraud cases are frequent and the phenomenon is widely known. It has already damaged the wine market as today 61% of Chinese consumers claim to have doubts over the authenticity of imported wine. (The China Wine Market Landscape July 2016 Report, Wine intelligence)
In France, fake wines are underestimated as they can also have severe consequences for French producers. The number of counterfeiters in Europe is increasing fast and alcohol constitutes their main target. From the 1st December, 2016 to 31st March, 2017, over 60 countries were involved in an operation lead by Interpol against food and drink fraud. Counterfeited alcohol was the most seized product reaching the amount of 26.4 million litres.
ONLY MOST NOTORIOUS WINES ARE COUNTERFEITED?
High-price and notoriety wines are targeted by counterfeits because they can make important profits with few sales. However, popular wines produced and sold in big quantities are also targeted. Few years ago, Wine Spectator estimated that 80% of the ice wine in China is fake. In 2014, the Italian police seized about 30 000 bottles of Brunello, Chianti Classico and Sagrantino di Montefalco. These bottles sold at $40 each aimed to be distributed in bars, wine stores and supermarkets.
The Australian Penfolds wines are also often copied in China. Online channels are an easy way to distribute fake wines and fool consumers. Wineries and producers need to intervene by themselves to protect their Chinese consumers.
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