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More than 40,000 bottles of fake Lafite and Penfolds uncovered in China police raid

Authorities in the Chinese province of Fujian have announced one of the biggest wine fraud busts in the region’s history, after more than 40,000 bottles of fake Lafite and Penfolds wines were discovered in a police raid.

The raid was announced as part of an “iron fist crackdown against food safety issues” from local authorities, reports Chinese wine news site Vino Joy.

It is believed that the value of the fake wines uncovered was north of US$1.5 million.

According to authorities, the bottles discovered included fake iterations of iconic Australian wine brand Penfolds and Bordeaux producer DBR Lafite, which boasts among its portfolio the first-growth Chateau Lafite Rothschild.

In total, some 40,084 bottles of fake wine were discovered in warehouses in Zhangzhou. The suspect is currently facing a criminal investigation.

It is not the first time that counterfeit bottles of Penfolds have been discovered during police raids in China.

In 2018, Police in China’s central Zhengzhou city busted 50,000 bottles of fake Penfolds worth over RMB 18 million (US$2.8m), at the time the biggest haul of counterfeit Penfolds uncovered.

And last year, police in China’s eastern Jiangsu province uncovered a “mega cross regional” counterfeit wine production operation, seizing more than 8,000 bottles of fake Penfolds wine.

Australian wine exports to China have been decimated by tariffs levied on the country. Exports to China for the period between December 2020 to March 2021 were just A$12 million – a drastic drop off compared to some $325 million in the same period a year ago.


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