8,000 bottles of fake Penfolds busted in northern ChinaBy Natalie Wang
Police in northern China’s Liaoning province seized more than 8,000 bottles of counterfeit Penfolds, roughly five months after a previous haul of 50,000 fake Penfolds bottles in central China.
Local media in Tie Ling city said the city’s Food and Drug Administration and police department made the bust after nearly half a year of investigation following a raid earlier in February on a local winery, which led them to discover 1,956 bottles of fake Penfolds worth over RMB 2 million (US$301,000), in addition to Chinese stickers bearing names of Penfolds’ Chinese name ‘奔富’, QR codes and label printing machines.
Further investigation from the February case revealed a more extensive network across different provinces, according to Chinese media reports.
After months of investigation, the police carried out a raid recently that busted two fake Penfolds workshops and six wine storage facilities with over 8,000 fake Penfolds valued at RMB 5 million (US$754,000).
The bust also discovered accompanying capsules, wine labels, wine cases in addition to other wine making machines. According to the report, 12 suspects were arrested. The investigation is still ongoing.
The anti-counterfeit raid seems to indicate that police in China are stepping up its efforts to combat counterfeit wine problem that plagues well-known imported wine brands such as Penfolds, Bordeaux first growths and some Napa cult wines for instance.
The news came roughly three months after police in Zhengzhou in Central China seized 50,000 bottles of fake Penfolds worth over RMB 18 million, believed to be the biggest haul of fake Penfolds so far.
Treasury Wine Estates, the Australian wine giant that owns Penfolds, previously declared a war on copycat Penfolds in China. It’s hard to gauge the exact scale or extent of fake Penfolds manufactured and distributed in China. However, it is not uncommon to see banners of merchants at one of China’s biggest wine fairs, Chengdu Wine Fair, selling ‘processed’ and ‘DIYed’ Penfolds and famous Bordeaux classified wines.
The popularity of Penfolds in China, its most profitable export market, has helped shot up TWE’s stock prices, but the company is complaining that its wine stocks are held at Chinese ports due to the strained relations between China and Australia.