…are buying up French “Chateau label” wineries…
Story and photos by Dr. Michael Lim The Travelling Gourmet TM
The irascible and irreverent Travelling Gourmet opens the lid on what is happening in France where…
EXPOSE! As the French say…
MONEY that is rumoured to be from ‘dirty’ and illegal sources is being used by the ‘nouveau riche’ Chinese from the PRC to buy up brand name “Chateau label” wineries and vineyards. That vertically challenged dictator of France that started so many wars and set Europe ablaze with his megalomania, Napoleon Bonaparte will roll over in his grave in the Hotel des Invalides of Paris. Pour quoi? (why) Simply because:
Chateau de Gevrey-Chambertin with a 12th Century listed Chateau, Napoleon the dwarf’s favourite Burgundy wine has been bought by an annonymous Chinese gambling tycoon from Macau SAR! Sold for only 8 million Euros! Disgraceful!!! It is not only money laundering that is happening BUT…
Once unscrupulous ‘entrepreneurs’ get their hands on a ‘Chateau label’ winery, they have full & unfettered access to all the bottles, capsules, labels, corks and what have you…This means they can produce Conterfeit or fake ‘brand name’ wines that are genuine in everything EXCEPT the liquid contents. It is a very HORRIFYING thought!!! If nothing is done, in the years to come, mark my words, French and later other Chateau label wines or in the case of Italy, Castello label wines will have a Bad REPUTATION…My wine connoisseur friends always advise me: Do not buy Lafite and Rothschild wines or even Penfold’s The Grange when you are in China…they are almost certainly FAKES!!! In the Barossa Valley of Australia, a top Penfold’s Manager, who spoke on the condition of annonymity, confessed to me, “China’s counterfeiting and selling fake Penfold’s wines is becoming an increasing and very serious problem…”When I asked for more pertinent details, he became visibly agitated and said, “No further comments please!” Penfolds is being sold under the name “Panfaids” using the same font and colour as the Penfolds logo, with labels citing Max Schubert as the winemaker!
If the French government does nothing…they will LOSE their heritage and reputation as one of the world’s top wine producers.
China’s Ministry of Commerce is cracking down on the counterfeit wine industry in the country, reports Guangxi News Net.
In a small workshop in the eastern province of Zhejiang, authorities uncovered 420,000 homemade wine labels intended to be affixed to counterfeit bottles of French wine. A local commerce department has also found 5,397 bottles of counterfeit red wine on the shelves at Cheng Sheng supermarkets. The bottles were traced back to the city of Yantai in Shandong province. Locals told commerce officials that the wine only cost 7 yuan (US$1.10) a bottle to manufacture.
Imported red wine sells better than domestic brands, especially well-known wines. According a survey conducted by the Ministry of Commerce, grey market bottles of Chateau Lafite and Castel are among the most expensive brands. Chateau Lafite and Castel each sell more than 100 types of wine. One counterfeit company has combined the company names to sell Lafite Castel wine.
The real Chateau Lafite produces 240,000 bottles of wine per year, with one third of them sold in Asia, according to commerce ministry employee Zheng Yuming. The sales volume of Lafite-branded wine is 2 million bottles annually in China, showing the depth of the counterfeit industry.
The Cheng Sheng supermarket company says their wines are traded through Hong Kong. Many counterfeit companies use Hong Kong addresses as front companies for their illegal business.
Cracking down????It would not suprise me if some of their officers are involved in the counterfeit syndicate…
Anyone for some Kung Fu fighting… Ha! Ha!
You would be well advised not to buy expensive brand name wines in China. They are likely to be fake!
Protected Eco-origin Product Scheme
In April 2014, Xinshi Li, President of the Chinese Academy of Inspection and Quarantine warned that China is still battling a serious problem with counterfeit wines, and claimed that at least half of Chateau lafite sold in China is actually fake and is probably made on wine-boats moored in international waters. Xinshi Li said this at a conference in April in Bordeaux to launch a new Chinese government anti-fraud effort called PEOP. Xinshi Li called these boats “faking-stations” who also produce other fake premium Bordeaux wines filling the bottles with low end wines. Bordeaux first growth Château Lafite is the most common forgery in China where it has been reported that there are more cases of the iconic 1982 vintage of Lafite than were actually produced by the château. One bottle of genuine Domaine Baron de Rothschild Chateau Lafite 1982 can cost US$10,000.
Recently the Chinese Government launched PEOP (Protected Eco–origin Product) – an initiative to label authentic products in a bid to guarantee a products origins and tackle the country’s fake wine market.
The PEOP labels feature visible and invisible codes, as well as a Quick Response Code, that consumers and Chinese customs officials will be able to check to trace the bottles origins.
Bordeaux producers who want their wines to carry the PEOP label must be certified by the Chinese government.
Advanced Track and Trade (ATT) has been brought on board by the Chinese Government to manage communications between themselves and French wine producers wishing to take part in the scheme.
In 2013 China accounted for almost 20% of all of Bordeaux’s exports by volume making its one of the world’s largest Bordeaux markets. The total exports of wine and spirit from France to China reached €836m in 2013, according to French government figures.
France and China sign “statement of intent”
In May, 2014, China and France have agreed to increase joint efforts to reduce the number of counterfeit French wines on the Chinese Mainland.
The two countries have signed a ‘statement of intent’ to strengthen the traceability of French imported wines in China, and ‘ensure the quality of products for Chinese consumers,’ said Korea-born Fleur Pellerin, French Secretary of State for Foreign Trade at the signing ceremony in Beijing. Wu Qinghai, Vice- Minister of the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine in China signed for China.