As much as some people may ignore it, wine counterfeiting has taken on alarming proportions worldwide.
Buying quality wine has never been so worrying. Global food and beverage fraud is reportedly as a $ 40 billion industry per year while art theft, on the other hand, is valued at $ 6 billion per year. The Bordeaux Interprofessional Wine Council believes that 30.000 bottles of counterfeit wine are sold every hour only in China.
Of course that the most expensive wines like Château Lafite Rothschild, Mouton-Rothschild, Latour and Domaine Romanée Conti, for example, are the most targeted. As a rule, counterfeiters buy empty bottles of the top labels for $ 1.000 or more on the black market and then fill the bottles with cheaper wine and pass it on to unsuspecting buyers.
However, as demand from world wine consumers skyrockets, counterfeiting is not limited to super-sophisticated wines. Even small and relatively inexpensive labels are at risk.
Below we show different types of counterfeits:
So, get to know myths and truths about wine forgery:
1. If I don’t buy old wines, I don’t take risks – MYTH.
We are seeing more and more youger vintage counterfeits coming onto market. Certainly older wines are riskier, especially since it is easier to fake a provenance story
for them, but younger wines are far from being free from counterfeiting. See the following examples:
2. If I don’t buy wines over $ 1.000, I don’t take risks – MYTH.
But this is not entirely false, you will have a much lower risk if you are buying $ 50 wines per bottle, especially if your purchases are from reputable merchants who buy wines directly from authorized distributors.
Now if you shop outside these channels, carefully check the bottles for evidence of counterfeiting. Don’t be complacent just because wine is relatively cheap.
3. Fakes are found only in auctions – MYTH.
Although it is well known the problems of certain auction houses with counterfeit wines, to believe that the problem is only in them is to ignore the sad reality.
As expectations for financial returns increase, some wine merchants tend to risk counterfeiting and trading in these bottles.
4. Your best defense against counterfeiting is knowledge and vigilance – TRUTH.
Understanding where the risks are, what the current trends in wine counterfeiting are, and how to verify the authenticity of bottles is your best defense against fake wine and the damage these frauds can do to your personal wealth or professional reputation.
Below (in Portuguese) is a list of techniques currently used by producers to prevent possible fraud.