Top 10 news of 2018 in China’s wine market

5. US$14 million worth of fake wines busted in China

Fake wine continues to be a problem plaguing China’s wine market. In November last year, police in Henan arrested 11 people and seized more than 50,000 bottles of fake wine bottled as Australian brand Penfolds and Chinese winery Changyu in a crackdown in central Henan province near Beijing.

The scale of the operation was astonishing. The raids uncovered over RMB 7 million (US$1 million) worth of fake Penfolds and fake Changyu wines worth more than RMB 6 million (US$865,000).

Other branded fake wines were also found in the raids but not specified. The total value of wines involved in this case is reported to exceed RMB 100 million (US$14.4 million) based on a preliminary assessment, according to the police.

This came a few months after police in northern China’s Liaoning province found more than 8,000 bottles of counterfeit Penfolds.

The iconic Australian wine brand is among the most faked imported wines in China. The company declared a war on copycats last year, aiming to stamp out all the “nonsense” in the market, as its chief executive Michael Clark said.

In February last year, it filed legal action against “copycat” producer Rush Rich in Australia over trademark infringements that it claims “exploit TWE’s iconic Penfolds brand”, as well as its Chinese transliteration of Ben Fu. The court battle is still ongoing.

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