No One is Safe from Counterfeit Wine

Monday, 28 January, 2019
VinePair, Ryan Smith
Buying quality wine has never been more fraught. Global food and beverage fraud is reportedly a $40 billion industry. (Art theft, on the other hand, is valued at $6 billion per year.) The Interprofessional Council of Bordeaux Wine believes that 30,000 bottles of counterfeit imported wine are sold every hour in China alone.

For wine collectors, it’s an enormous risk. Bottles of first-growth Bordeaux, such as Château Lafite Rothschild, Mouton-Rothschild, and Latour, as well as expensive Burgundy like Domaine Romanée Conti, have been duplicated for decades. Here’s how it might happen: Counterfeiters buy empty bottles from top producers for $1,000 or more on the black market. They then re-fill and cork these bottles and pass them off to unsuspecting buyers

Now, as the size and thirst of global wine consumers are skyrocketing, counterfeiting is not limited to super-high-end wines. Even small, relatively inexpensive labels are at risk.

Savvy winemakers like Frank Cornelissen are not sitting idly by. Cornelissen’s natural Sicilian wines, grown on 46 acres of volcanic soil, have become immensely popular in recent years. In 2014, Cornelissen decided to tackle counterfeiting head on.

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Image source: Bloomberg
Image source: Bloomberg

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