App to combat fake wine in China developed

24th April, 2014 by Lucy Shaw

A new app has been developed that aims to tackle the growing problem of counterfeit wine in the Chinese market.

McHenry Hohnen will be the first wine brand to use the new tracking technology

McHenry Hohnen in Australia’s Margaret River will be the first wine brand to use the new tracking technology

As reported by The West Australian, the app is a collaborative effort between the Western Australia-based Linkar Group and the Guangdong Guangxin Information Industry Development Co.

In order for it to work, wines need to carry a specific type of label featuring scannable coding that enables a tracing system to be activated and the wine tracked.

The tracing system is formed of a collection of search engines that allows retailers, wholesalers, distributors and suppliers to access data related to the wine.

The technology will be trialed by McHenry Hohnen in Margaret River, with The West reporting that the first shipment of wines carrying the scannable labels is due to leave for China next month.

Fake Penfolds being sold as “Panfaids” in China

“As a small premium producer, it is vital that wines sold into China are protected from being copied, which destroys the integrity of our crafted product,” Murray McHenry, co-owner of McHenry Hohnen, told The Western Australian.

“By having a tracking system on each bottle, we will be able to ensure our premium wines are what the consumer is purchasing,” he added.

Two of Australia’s most prestigious estates, Penfolds and Henschke, have both fallen prey to counterfeiting in China, with instances of fake fine wines on the rise.

Penfolds is being sold under the name “Panfaids” using the same font and colour as the Penfolds logo, with labels citing Max Schubert as the winemaker.

Chinese supermarkets and restaurants are under constant threat from counterfeit wines, particularly in second and third tier cities where consumers have less knowledge of fine wines.

Tackling the counterfeit culture, some winemakers have taken to smashing bottles after tastings in China, to prevent them from being refilled for resale.

It is hoped that the Chinese government will eventually demand that all wine sold in China will be required to adopt a system to guarantee its authenticity.

Australia boasts the second highest level of wine imports into China behind France and the highest average value among the top 10 important countries.

Bordeaux’s escalating prices and the tepid reception of the 2013 en primeur campaign is providing Australia’s premium producers with a chance to seize a greater share of the Chinese market.

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