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Top Lafite rip-off brands in China

No other wine captures the attention and imagination of consumers in China quite like Bordeaux first growth Château Lafite Rothschild. We’ve rounded up some of the most common rip-offs reportedly seen on the market.

Chateau Lafite Rothschild 1996

To put its popularity in perspective, the Chinese name for the legendary first growth –拉菲 – alone generates about 40,000 – 50,000 searches a day on China’s biggest search engine,, Chinese media Wine Business Observation reported.

However, in China, the name Lafite (拉菲) is not only used to describe the first growth grand vin, it’s also associated with other lesser brands under the Domaines Barons de Rothschild (DBR) name. including the much cheaper Légende and Saga.

But nonetheless, Lafite, has grown to be unarguably one of the most well known wine brands in China, which means it’s also one of the most highly faked wines.

A lot of counterfeit Lafite wines including imitations, trademark infringement and misrepresented brands have sprung up in China.

At one point in 2014, Xinshi Li, president of the Chinese Academy of Inspection and Quarantine, claimed half or more of the bottles that purported to be Lafite sold in China are “probably made on boats moored along the Chinese coast, rather than vineyards in Paulliac”, according to Quartz.

Here, we’ve rounded up some of the top fake and misrepresented Lafite brands seen in China to raise consumer awareness.

Click through the slides to discover these brands, and don’t forget to share with us some of the other Lafite look-alikes you have come cross in China.

Lafite Family

Lafite family (Source:

If you saw ‘Lafite Family’ sold online or offline in Chinese stores, be sure not to spend a penny on any of the wines unless you are just eager to taste a wine from Lafite Family marketed by a Shenzhen company called Shenzhen Jinhongde Trade Co Ltd.

The first growth took the Chinese company to court in 2011 in Changsha of Hunan province in central China for using the trademark “Lafite” and the five arrow symbol to confuse consumers and engage in unfair competition, reported China Daily.

The Changsha Intermediate Court ruled in favour of the first growth and awarded Lafite 300,000 RMB (US$43, 621) in compensation as the first growth successfully argued that it has already registered its English name’s trademark in 1996 and its five arrow symbol in 2001.





Lafei Manor


Instead of using ‘Lafite’, this Lafite look-alike played on the Chinese transliteration of the first growth’s name and used the Chinese pinyin for Lafite – Lafei.

It’s worth noting that Lafite is still locked in a legal battle over the use of its Chinese name -拉菲 – with a Nanjing company.

The French winery only applied for its Chinese name’s trademark in 2006, a year later than the Nanjing company who had already applied for the name’s trademark.

The Chinese company was successfully granted the Chinese trademark in 2007 but Lafite later brought the case to China’s Trademark Review and Adjudication Board (TRAB), which ruled against the Nanjing company in 2013.

Defiant of the ruling, the Nanjing company appealed to Beijing No.1 Intermediate People’s Court, which ruled to uphold the decision by TRAB but the case saw a dramatic turn when the Beijing High Court overturned the intermediate court’s ruling and handed the trademark back to the Nanjing company.

Lafite has appealed the ruling and the case is under review with the Supreme People’s Court, the highest court in China.







Lafei Empire


“Lafei Empire” is another example of wordplay on Lafite’s transliterated Chinese name in pinyin. Although bearing the familiar five arrow symbol on the capsule as well, the wine has no relations with the the actual Lafite.


Variantsof Lafite’s Chinese name

For Chinese readers, other variants of ‘拉菲’ such as ‘拉菲庄园’ or ‘拉菲古堡特制’ has nothing to do with the first growth either. So be careful when you come across various bottles with characters 拉菲 in the wine name.

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