China’s wine police, the Ka Lim Na, say they have cracked a gang selling thousands of bottles of completely legitimate Penfolds wine.
Officers raided the warehouse in Gago Province last week, after being tipped off about a storage facility that contained no poorly spelled labels, no hooky capsules and no forged logbooks.
‘They were bang to rights,’ said one officer. ‘There was absolutely no counterfeiting going on at all.
‘Obviously you hear about this kind of thing, but to see so many real bottles of Penfolds being brazenly imported and sold in this way was still a shock.’
Experts have been concerned for several years about the rising numbers of authentic wines in China. Current estimates put the numbers of genuine bottles of Penfolds in the country as being as high as 10% of the total.
‘It’s a real problem,’ said fraud expert So Pho Nee. ‘These authentic bottles are undermining all the good work that’s being done by fraudsters in providing Chinese consumers with kudos enhancing wines at affordable prices.’
Police have warned the public to be on the lookout for the interlopers.
‘If you pay a suspiciously large amount of money for a prestige bottle, and it tastes like it could be worth it, then the chances are that it’s entirely genuine,’ warned Pho Nee.
Officials say that scrupulous brand owners are duping people out of hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.
‘Most consumers would be happy with a cut-price bottle of Chilean Merlot with an implausible knock-off label,’ he told Fake Booze. ‘There’s no way they’d knowingly pay top dollar for the real thing.’
Back to zero
A spokesman for the Chinese government said they were taking the problem of genuine bottles very seriously and hoped that their vindictive boycott of all things Australian would help to ‘reduce actual bottles of Australian wine in the country to zero inside 12 months.’
In the meantime he told Fake Booze that non-counterfeit bottles of Grange would be confiscated and safely disposed of by senior members of the Communist party in their cellars.