It is becoming a large and expensive issue in the wine world
In today’s modern society, counterfeit wine is a really huge, expensive issue, and an increasing number of wine consumers and investors are forced to deal with it. Not very long ago, a federal jury from New York City handed a decisive legal victory to William Koch, a famous billionaire, and the progenitor of the Oxbow Group energy corporation. The jury awarded him with no less than $380,000, amount aimed to cover the full price of the wine, along with another $12 million in punitive damages, in his argument for the misleading representation of 24 wine bottles that he had acquired from a wine collector, at a 2005 wine auction.
Professionals agreed that the liquor in one of the bottles was not genuine, and the other 23 were not original either. Plus, despite the fact that it was not determined who was the person responsible for the accident, it’s a perfect example of how wine counterfeiting is affecting the business from all over the world.
China has replicas for everything, even for wine
The executive editor of the highly-appreciated Wine Enthusiast Magazine, Susan Kostrzewa, argues that because more and more Chinese have started consuming, investing, and collecting exquisite wines, the counterfeiting industry has developed enormously. There are countless fake wine bottles that are being produced every day, and they are sold at incredibly expensive prices. On the Chinese wine market, there are wines labeller with names that look like the famous Chateau Lafite and Chatelet Lafite, but they’re not authentic.
The main issue in not that China is invaded by counterfeit wines that are sold to gullible consumers every day, but that the country is one of the leading wine importers on the globe. The products it produces are shipped to various countries. In 2012 alone, wine exports to China were nearly 70 million gallons, and that’s nearly $1 billion worth of wine, almost twice as much as in 2006. And, although they’re usually acquiring various types of French wines at the moment, the Chinese have slowly started to develop their tastes and explore entirely different areas.
It’s incredibly challenging to import wine into China right now, considering all these counterfeiting issues. That’s why most vineyards have been forced to implement a series of safeguard measures. For instance, they’ve made the bottles highly resistant, and have placed secret marks on each bottle, marks that only genuine wines have.
The notorious case of Rudy Kurniawan
To emphasize the seriousness of the situation and how determined is the police to keep it under control, here is one more popular counterfeiting case. You’ve probably heard of Rudy Kurniawan, a decent 35-year-old from Indonesia living in Los Angeles, one of the biggest players in the wine market. Over the years, he bought and sold all sorts of rare wines, and once while doing so he was caught during an auction in New York.
This unexpected discovery caused a huge scandal in the wine collectors’ world, and Kurniawan just vanished from the scene, leaving no traces behind. The FBI started pursuing him, and on the 8th of March he was officially arrested at his residence in California, and during his arrest, the police made a startling discovery. They found in his home myriad of bottles looking just like the originals. Also, it has been proven that, over the years, Kurniawan sold hundreds of fake wine bottles, counterfeiting the rarest types in the world.
This is probably one of the most famous examples as Kurniawan’s case received a lot of media attention, and it was discussed worldwide. It ought to be taken as a lesson for all those who purchase and sell wines, and it should help people to be careful when making investments worth thousands of dollars. Counterfeit wine has invaded the market and investors are afraid to buy. The problem must be cut from the root, and the only way to do that is through a methodical check of the wines before purchasing.
The article is authored by Jason Phillips. He is an advising expert at several investment sites like wineinvestment.com.