Fake wine now accounts for 20% of market
Fake wines now account for 20% of global wine sales according to unofficial industry estimates.
The claim was published last Friday in regional French newspaper Sud Ouest and refers to value sales, linked predominantly to top Bordeaux and Burgundy.
Last week, magistrates in Bordeaux sentenced Armenian immigrant Armand Aramian to four months in prison for selling fake Château Mouton Rothschild labels on eBay to a Saint Emilion-based winemaker and label collector.
When police searched Aramian’s Paris apartment they found 8,000 wine labels in his cellar.
“They were very likely forged in China,” said prosecutor Marianne Constantin.
“The most important thing is that the labels in this case did not make their way onto any bottles of fake wine,” she added.
Earlier last month, an Italian father and son were arrested on suspicion of counterfeiting 400 bottles of top Burgundy, Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, and selling them across Europe for a sum of €2 million.
The pair, believed to work in the wine trade, were arrested on 16 October in the course of a Europol operation spanning Germany, the UK, the Netherlands, Cyprus and Italy.
The case comes as Hong Kong millionaire Henry Tang has launched libel proceedings against US lawyer Don Cornwell after he questioned the authenticity of DRC Tang put up for auction.
“I have no information at all which would suggest that Henry Tang is involved in any way in attempting to knowingly market counterfeit wines. However, I am somewhat concerned that he is attempting to defend the authenticity of the bottles that were sold that I questioned,” Cornwell told the South China Morning Post.
Chicago-based celebrity chef Charlie Trotter is also being sued for allegedly selling two collectors a magnum of fake Domaine de la Romanée-Conti for £30,000 last year.
Burgundian winemaker Laurent Ponsot estimates that 80% of auctioned wines said to come from Burgundy’s most prestigious domaines are counterfeit.
Ponsot played a pivotal role in the unmasking of Rudy Kurniawan as an alleged wine fraudster after the Indonesian-born collector tried to auction pre-1982 vintages of Ponsot’s Clos St. Denis, which was first made in 1982.
Kurniawan’s trial is due to start next month during which Ponsot is expected to testify.
CORRECTION: This story was updated on 7 November to reflect that Don Cornwell did not accuse Henry Tang of knowingly trying to market counterfeit wine.