Counterfeiters have released 400,000 bottles of fake premium Fitou AOC wine onto the Chinese market.
The wine is purportedly from Mont Tauch, a respected Languedoc co-operative which has been selling wine in China since 2007.
Recently reports that its wine was being sold at very low prices began to circulate.
‘This came as a big surprise to us, as we were the sole suppliers of Fitou into the Chinese market,’ Antoine Leray, Mont Tauch’s UK sales director, told decanter.com.
‘During a meeting with a customer, they showed us a counterfeit bottle of one of our wines – the Fitou Reserve des Tamaris.’
It was then that they realised someone had copied their packaging, Leray said.
Mont Tauch analysed the wine and said it appears to be a low quality, bulk wine from South America ‘which tastes radically inferior to Fitou’.
The bottles and labels – though trademarked – were good forgeries.
The quantity of 400,000 bottles, though unofficial, is based on discussions with other importers and distributors in China and was compared with figures from local customs and excise. Mont Tauch feels it is accurate.
While the company declined to reveal the potential loss as a result of the scam or the value of its overall sales to China, it confirmed it has a dedicated importer and a sales manager who spends half her time there.
‘This is a serious concern and we have addressed it with our Chinese agent who has assured us that no more counterfeit stock has been produced, and that they will remain vigilant,’ said Leray.
‘But it has not changed our desire to do business in China as it is an important new market with huge potential for Mont Tauch.’
Written by Maggie Rosen