Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sober Advice To Stop Counterfeit Wine As Lafite Bubble in China Attracts More Counterfeiters

China counterfeiters produce more "Lafite" 
then you can ever find in the 
Château Lafite Rothschild cellars in France
Photo: Wikipedia about Château Lafite Rothschild 
No, Lafite is not a kind of Champagne. It has no bubbles inside. But the market for Lafite could definitely be called a bubble. One can find more "Château Lafite Rothschild" wine bottles in China than they are exported from this reputable French wine house to China. Therefore, Lucas Botebol of Zhongguo Wine estimated in October 2010 that 70 percent of the Château Lafite Rothschild in China is fake, read here. Because of the increase in counterfeit Lafite supply the prices have not dropped a Renminbi. A fortiori, prices for a bottle of Lafite 2000 have risen 574 percent between 2001 and 2010. So demand must be growing very strongly. And this probably attracts even more counterfeiters.

Some sober advice
You do not need to be an oenologist to realise that until you are a connoisseur, you might want to drink some lower cost wine that can be très agréable. And even if you are a connoisseur it could not be excluded that your taste palate is better attuned to some other wines. To cash in on the bubble is nice for the wine house, but to lose control of your product on the China market is very risky. Fortunately it is in the counterfeiters interest that they make the counterfeit Lafite not too bad. Drinkers should not become ill or worse. If some drinker of counterfeit Lafite would die, for example, than the counterfeit Lafite market will be dead too. To prevent counterfeiters with a more short term mind from bottling dangerous concoctions, the brand should try to regain control over the complete chain of supply.

Start a breaking the glass ceremony
If I were a wealthy wine lover I would like to be able to verify via my phone whether the bottle that is served in the restaurant is the genuine product. Also there should be a "waterproof" cork system that is very hard to counterfeit. And as a kind of grande finale, after finishing the bottle, the bottle should be destroyed with a hammer as a kind of luck bringing ceremony and preventing future counterfeiters from giving the bottle a second life. If the restaurant is not doing it by themselves, one should insist on it.

Hat tip to Sophie Pilgrim of France24, see here.

Terroir is a near-mystical French term for soil, micro-climat, direction of wind. It is an important term used sometimes to justify Geographical Indications, see the video below:

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