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04.2014

Massachusetts Beverage Business

OnWineReport

KNOCKOFF WINE WITH YOUR KNOCKOFF GUCCI?

Always be wary of wines claiming to be from Chateau Margaux bearing cheesy labels. The Shanghai police department is reported to have busted a wine counterfeiting gang, seizing thousands of bottles of fake “first growths” in the process. The six-person gang along with their leader were arrested and police discovered 684 bottles of “Margaux” and 4OOO bottles of “Lafite” worth Y1O million (US$1.6m). The bottles were not direct copies but so-called “funny” bottles which use the names of the famous estates. Although not direct copies they do infringe trademark laws. Nor does the wine industry find then funny in the least. The raid was the result of months of groundwork, beginning with a tip-off last spring and preliminary busts which led to a haul of counterfeit labels and bottle caps. The ringleader confessed to have been running the scam since 2O1O and said he used wine from Hebei and Shandong provinces while the corking and packaging and labeling took place in Guangdong, Shangdong and Shanghai. The wine was distributed in China, being sold to unsuspecting consumers. The police inspector in charge of the raid, Yang Lieyi, has so far conducted 9OO such operations this year arresting over 19OO people on charges of intellectual property crimes and seized over US$47m in fake goods.

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