Chinese wijnbedrijven voeren te weinig campagne tegen nep-wijnen. Die worden daar nog bij duizenden op de markt gebracht. En er wordt dik aan verdiend. Een van de succes-oorzaken is dat Chinese consumenten weinig vertrouwen hebben in nationale producten, terwijl die vaak prestigieuze onderscheidingen binnen halen. Wine-Searcher meldt:
Say "fake wine" and "China" and visions of global brands dance in people's heads. "Lafite" spelled with dozens of different twists. Lookalikes of Penfolds ("Penfriends" anyone?) and YellowTail (with zombie-like kangaroos). You can even find a white wine from a red Burgundy producer featuring a Bordeaux logo and a place of origin nowhere near either region. Truth be told, there is an eclectic range of borrowed names and fonts, colors and castles, from wineries spanning the globe. And that includes Chinese brands.
Just two months ago, a raid in Henan province netted more than 50,000 bottles of fake wine. That included an estimated $865,000 of Changyu, according to The Drinks Business.
A burning question is why isn't the industry doing more to stop this, especially as food safety is a serious issue in China, with the authorities willing to take action and the media willing to report it?
"Many wineries are worried about the publicity," said one wine trade observer. "Nobody is willing to break the first glass."
There is reason for that caution. Chinese wine has never been better and is racking up good reviews and winning hundreds of medals in contests worldwide. At the same time, it has steadily lost market share to imports over the past five years. A key reason is a lack of trust by consumers, who were put off by a long history of producers who emphasized marketing over quality. It's no surprise that blowing the lid off fake domestic wines would be a concern.
Fake wine is also lucrative.
Some producers do take measures to fight fakes – Castle Li, who heads the wine division of COFCO, which makes Great Wall, told The Drinks Business earlier this year that the company had "a team specially working on combating counterfeit Great Wall."
The sharpest weapon, a full-scale industry-wide public campaign, still worries many. That's too bad, because as much as imported and local brands struggle for market share, one area where they could team up and help consumers is on the side of legitimate products.